Bakeries in Münster introduce a sustainable alternative to disposable coffee cups

On the 18th of January, the German broadcasting company WDR reported on the introduction of a returnable cup system in Münster. For quite a while already, the big amount of waste resulting from disposable coffee cups was seen as a problem by some of the city’s bakeries. Since for hygienic reasons they do not want to refill cups brought by clients themselves, these bakeries now designed both reusable cups as well as a deposit system for them: The so called “Gilde-Becher”, named after the group of bakeries in charge of the initiative, will be handed out to clients in all of their shops and can be returned after its usage to be cleaned and handed out again. A fresh cup can then be taken at the next usage. Even if the plan is not field-tested yet, a pilot run will start in February.

The WDR’s journalists spoke to members of the bakeries in order to understand the practical implementation of the reusable cup system. Later on, the idea was put in a broader scientific context by Carolin Bohn, research fellow at the ZIN, and Sophie Berg, a student who is currently conducting research on the introduction of reusable cup systems. They pointed out the scientific and practical relevance of the waste problem created through single-use cups and Ms. Berg, based on her research, pointed out links to similar initiatives and activities against disposable cups in other cities.

After the television feature on the new reusable cup system was shown in the WDR television program “Lokalzeit Münsterland”, ZIN-member Prof. Tillmann Buttschard, invited as a studio guest, placed the problem of disposable cups into the broader context of sustainability. He explained the work of the ZIN in this domain and concluded his appearance with an appeal for small changes in everyone’s everyday life in order to live a more sustainable life.