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“Think first, then act – not the other way around”: Franconian inn sharply criticizes new returnable packaging


The Corona years are still deep in the bones of gastronomy. Now their situation is getting even more difficult due to the new reusable packaging requirement. A chef criticizes.

The Corona years are still deep in the bones of gastronomy.

Now their situation is getting even more difficult due to the new reusable packaging requirement.

A chef criticizes.

Erlangen – Since the beginning of the year, restaurateurs have been obliged to offer take-away food and drinks in reusable packaging.

This is how plastic waste should be reduced by disposable products.

When it comes to implementation, however, some catering establishments feel confronted with a fait accompli.

Reusable packaging since the beginning of the year: restaurateurs before a fait accompli

For Barbara Palmer, managing director and head chef at the Franconian inn "Zur green Au" in Erlangen, the new law came at much too short notice: "It was always said that it would come at some point in the future, but never specifically when," says the restaurateur in an interview with

Merkur .de.

It was only at the beginning of the year that she found out about the start of the new regulation.

The obligation to reuse presented Palmer and her gastro colleagues with a fait accompli: "The politicians left us out in the rain."

The implementation of the reusable obligation is anything but easy, reports Palmer: "There is not so much on the market that we can simply choose something." There is simply not enough experience in the large-scale use of reusable products - The catering establishments would therefore have to try out for themselves which packaging is best suited for their products.

Returnable duty in gastronomy

From January 1, 2023, the new reusable obligation for catering establishments will apply.

The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Consumer Protection states:

“From 2023, restaurants, bistros and cafés that sell food to take away are obliged to offer their products in both disposable and reusable packaging.

The reusable variant must not be more expensive than the product in the disposable packaging.

In addition, appropriate reusable cups must be available for all sizes of a to-go drink and the reusable packaging must not be offered under worse conditions than the disposable packaging."

Warehouse full of disposable packaging - "It's nonsense to throw it all away"

Because: "Red cabbage, tomato sauce and so on, everything rubs off," says Palmer.

At the same time, the new containers would have to keep things warm reliably so that customers don't end up with lukewarm food on their plates.

Until now, the “Grüne Au” has delivered its food in sealed Styrofoam packaging, and a total of six delivery vehicles bring the Franconian delicacies to customers in the region.

The new regulation is not only causing headaches for restaurateurs - packaging suppliers are also facing new challenges.

"The warehouse is full of disposable packaging, you can't just throw it away," says Palmer, describing the situation at her supplier.

"It would be nonsense to throw it all away," adds the managing director.

(By the way: Our Nuremberg newsletter regularly informs you about all the important stories from Middle Franconia and the Franconian metropolis. Register here.)

"Germany alone cannot save the world" - clear words to politicians

The catering industry is currently in a difficult crisis, the new legal regulation exacerbates the situation for many companies: "Corona has crushed us, inflation is skyrocketing and now the reusable packaging is coming," sums up Palmer.

"Politics won't let us breathe easy.

So many obstacles are being put in our way that you have to ask yourself whether it's still worthwhile at all." With all understanding for environmental protection, for Palmer the new regulation is the wrong way: "Everyone wants to be environmentally friendly, but Germany alone cannot save the world.”


Reusable packaging like this will soon be everywhere in the catering trade.

(icon picture)

© IMAGO/Hans-Jürgen Serwe

"The situation is becoming more and more critical" - gastronomy in crisis

"The situation is becoming more and more critical for restaurateurs, at some point you don't feel like it anymore," reports the managing director.

From conversations with other gastro colleagues, the Erlangen native concludes: "Many are considering selling their shop or closing it down.

If things continue like this – how are we supposed to work?” The restaurateur makes a clear request to politicians: “Think first, then act, not the other way around.”

The "Green Au" is by no means an isolated case: restaurateurs in Miesbach are also affected - but the city wanted to at least financially support their local catering establishments with the introduction of reusable tableware in the to-go segment.


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List of rubrics: © IMAGO/Hans-Jürgen Serwe

Source: merkur

All news articles on 2023-01-24

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