In Germany disposable packaging is in the bag!

Posted on 16 March 2021.

Supported by the Veolia Foundation in Germany, the rehab republic association plans to shake up old habits with a label telling German consumers where they can shop using their own containers.

Plastic cutlery, straws, plastic boxes and cartons of all kinds... Single-use packaging is firmly entrenched in our daily lives. But according to the European Commission, it accounts for 86% of the waste recovered from beaches. Worse still, almost half of the plastic waste found in the oceans comes from this type of packaging.

In light of this observation, in 2019 the Commission issued a directive banning the sale of plastic cutlery, single-use plastic food containers, polystyrene cups, etc. from summer 2021. Until then, consumers have yet to be convinced to abandon single-use packaging.

In Germany, one initiative in particular is attracting attention. In 2019, the rehab republic association began putting "Einmal ohne, bitte" (in English "Here, no single-use packaging") stickers on the fronts of partner stores and restaurants in Munich, the capital of Bavaria.

The principle? To let consumers know which shops accept reusable packaging, i.e. where everyone is welcome to come with their own containers. This way, cheese, buns, meat, or takeaway meals in restaurants can be sold without any packaging at all. Instead, consumers bring their own reusable bags or boxes.


600 stores in Germany

The "Einmal ohne bitte" project was launched at the beginning of 2020 outside Munich in several cities across the country, including Berlin. It won the support of a number of sponsors, including the Veolia Foundation in Germany, which financed part of the project.

On the initiative’s website, there’s a map showing all the partner businesses - already almost 800 across Germany. 

With a simple sticker, rehab republic hopes to remove the barriers that are preventing consumers from bringing their own containers into stores.

Now well-informed, Germans can become fully-fledged players in the circular economy and save resources.