GERMANY – Burger King’s German restaurants have rolled out RECUP deposit return system in the hopes of conserving valuable packaging resources and reducing waste generated from single-use cup solutions.

Reportedly, RECUP products are 100% recyclable and free of harmful substances and BPA. Each cup is expected to replace 1,000 disposable cups in its lifetime, suggesting that its use will both save resources and cut down on environmental pollution.

Consumers can make a deposit of €1.00 each to obtain a RECUP cup and deposit lid, which can then be used to contain drinks, milkshakes, and ice cream from any of Germany’s 750 Burger King restaurants or their drive-thru services.

They can also be returned to any Burger King establishment or to 18,500 RECUP distribution points throughout Germany, where they will apparently be sent for dishwashing per hygiene regulations and put back into the reusable sector.

In addition, each RECUP comes with a CoffeeCup Paper sleeve, said to be made using both wastepaper and 25% paper fibers sourced from recycled disposable cups.

Such a solution is expected to keep the approximately 1.7 billion single-use cups used in Germany every year in the paper cycle, as the sleeve itself is thought to be recyclable for up to 25 further cycles in existing wastepaper streams.

Last year, Burger King partnered with Loop to pilot a range of reusable and returnable packaging for its burgers, sides, and drinks across selected restaurants in the UK.

The range included a reusable clamshell burger container and cup. Burger King says it would be the first fast-food restaurant in the UK to pilot the reusable clamshell containers for burgers from Loop.

McDonald’s undertook a similar collaboration in 2021 to run a returnable coffee cup scheme in six of its UK restaurants.

The new development comes at a time when Germans consume 320,000 disposable cups of hot drinks per hour, according to a study.

The report also highlights that around 50 percent of the waste collected from EU beaches consists of disposable products.

To cushion this, the country has formulated some policies requiring caterers, delivery services and restaurants to offer reusable containers as an alternative to single-use plastic for to-go food.

Beginning in 2025, disposable beverage bottles must also be made from at least 25 percent recycled plastic.

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