The reusable packaging requirement in the catering industry, which came into force at the beginning of January, is causing changes at McDonald’s

January 1, 2023 was the deadline for the so-called reusable packaging. In order to avoid packaging waste, restaurants, snack bars and cafés must then offer an alternative to reusable packaging for street sales.

The regulation applies not only to food, but also to drinks. According to the federal government, 770 tons of packaging waste are generated in Germany every day from disposable takeaway packaging alone. The new regulation aims to change that.

A look at the packaging law provides clarity as to who is affected by the reusable obligation and where there are exceptions. The legislature speaks woodenly of “final distributors of single-use plastic food packaging and single-use beverage cups”.

This means the local shops that sell takeaway food and drinks. Important here: the final distributor has to fill himself, for example, tap the coffee to take away or scoop the soup himself and not just hand over the ready-packaged goods over the counter.

The price for the reusable variant must not be higher than for one-way packaging. In addition, there must be clearly visible information that refers to the reusable packaging. Deposit systems are allowed and the sellers only have to take back the reusable packaging that they have issued themselves.

Since the beginning of January, the fast-food chain McDonald’s has been offering its own reusable system with reusable packaging for a two-euro deposit.

When ordering at the counter or at the McDrive counter, for example, customers can now choose whether they want their milkshake or Coke in a paper cup or in a reusable plastic cup, as before.

If you want your drink in a reusable cup, you pay an additional deposit of 2 euros per pack. The surcharge will be refunded as soon as customers return the cup to the counter in a German McDonald’s or at the first counter in McDrive. This is to ensure that the packaging finds its way back.

Changes also at Burger King

Burger King, on the other hand, works with a provider of reusable systems, which is why customers can also return their reusable cups to all of these dispensing points. According to the company, each reusable cup should be able to replace up to 1,000 disposable cups over the course of its useful life.

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Exceptions to the rule are smaller catering establishments that are a maximum of 80 square meters and have no more than five employees. However, these establishments must fill their food and drinks in reusable crockery brought by customers.

Chains, such as train station bakeries, cannot make use of the small business exception. The sales area of ​​the individual sales outlets may be less than 80 square meters. But if there are more than five employees working in the entire company, the exception does not apply to them.

Exception: pizza box and aluminum tray

Only packaging with plastic is affected by the reusable obligation. The restaurateurs do not have to offer an alternative to pizza boxes or aluminum trays, according to the consumer advice center in Saxony.

The original of this article “McDonald’s converts the beverage system – customers now have several options” comes from