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Meet the FreiburgCup: paving the way for zero waste coffee to go

Meet the Freiburg Cup: Paving the way for 's zero waste coffee.

The reusable cups on the deposit are helping Freiburg to get rid of disposable cups, one cup of coffee at a time.

With a high-performance waste management system that achieves a 70% recovery rate, renewable energy, green transportation and innovative projects in energy saving, the beautiful city of Freiburg is known as "Germany's greenest city".

Although the city is a leading example of sustainable development, it cannot escape the pressing problem of disposable coffee cups.

This is why in 2016, the mayor of the city decided to launch the Freiburg Cup program. A voluntary service plan for reusable cups under deposits was launched, with three main goals: promoting reusable cups, reducing waste, and promoting more sustainable consumer behavior.

The Freiburg Cup project was officially launched on November 22, 2016. The plan was put forward at a press conference and attracted a lot of reports from the local media. Due to media reports and the fact that the event is very direct, the number of local cafes participating in the program has surged, starting from 15 and reaching 45 cafes within a month.

How does it work?

Entry into the deposit plan is very simple. Customers who want to participate only need to pay a deposit of one euro when ordering coffee. When they return the reusable cup to any cafe or shop that joins the program, they can get the deposit back. This should not cause any inconvenience to customers, because it is estimated that about 60-70% of local coffee shops currently participate in the Freiburg Cup project.

Fast forward to mid-2018, and it is clear that the plan was once launched as a temporary project and has achieved its main goals. The amount of waste has been reduced, and consumers now have alternatives to disposable cups. The Freiburg Cup has successfully raised awareness of the need to reduce disposable cups.

However, there are still some challenges to face before this project becomes a mainstream choice for customers who want to enjoy hot drinks on the go. For example, the willingness of consumers to participate in the program is critical to its operation, mainly due to the voluntary nature of the program. This is a problem, because even though many people have chosen to switch to sustainable alternatives, it is difficult to consider that while stores are actively promoting the use of disposable cups, they are hesitant to charge customers for the use of disposable cups. Achieve broader behavior changes. The Freiburg Cup as a sustainable alternative.

Nevertheless, despite some minor issues, the Freiburg Cup managed to enter the daily life of Freiburg coffee drinkers. Citizens there have accepted the alternative, which has triggered other sustainable projects in Germany and around the world. A sustainable future is getting closer, one reusable cup at a time.

Hungry for more?

Read our case study on the Freiburg Cup!

"The Freiburg Cup has successfully entered the daily life of Freiburg coffee drinkers."

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