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Reducing garbage in Bonn: New deposit system to rid of disposable cups

Reducing garbage in Bonn : New deposit system to rid of disposable cups

Around 40,000 disposable cups are used daily in Bonn. The best case scenario is that they land in a garbage can somewhere in the city, and in the worst case they end up littering streets and parks. A plan is being worked to put an end to the waste.

No time for breakfast at home, and on the way to the next appointment, a dose of caffeine helps the concentration. "Coffee-to-go" has long been a part of our everyday lives. The consequences go without saying. Around 40,000 disposable cups are used daily in Bonn. At best, these fill up city dumpsters, and at worst they end up littering city streets, plazas and parks.

A political coalition of CDU, FDP and the Greens want to change this, proposing a reusable system in which people can have hot drinks filled in their own cups and tap water in their refillable bottles for free. Businesses that oppose this should offer a commercial deposit system.

The system is called “Bonn Refill” and would come on the heels of initiatives already in place such as the "Bring.mich.zurück" campaign of the Stadtwerke Bonn (public utilities) and the "LogiCup" from a university student group. The new project would be managed by municipal waste company Bonnorange. A decision in favor of the project was made in the most recent city council meeting.

Bonnorange is to develop and finance project

In terms of funding, however, opinions differed. "Of course we actively support proposals for reducing waste," explains Frank J. Schönhardt, a CDU official, "but this must not be done to the detriment of private businesses." His criticism is that the costs of planning and implementing the project would be passed on by Bonnorange to all residents, even though commuters and visitors to the city are also producing garbage. "In addition, the entrepreneurial risk in the development of this business by Bonnorange is also borne by the citizen." The SPD party followed a similar argumentation, concerned that residents would bear the costs instead of those who actually produced the waste.

Bonnorange is already looking at what other communities are doing to ensure that fewer one-way disposables end up in the garbage. As well, all stakeholders, including the city, restaurant owners and retailers - would need to be involved in the development of the concept, and this would take some time to achieve the best possible result.

The Kamps bakery chain already offers its own concept in 19 branches in Bonn. Customers can bring along their own container for hot drinks and get ten cents off the price. Marc Heidolph of Kamps says the resonance is good.

For the political coalition, a refill system fits the mission statement of the city of Bonn, which must continue to profile itself as a city of sustainability. "Therefore, a reusable system corresponds to the image of our city: Sustainable Bonn, project of the UN World Decade for Sustainable Education and Project Ökoprofit. An implementation would be ideal for the Beethovenfest 2020," say the CDU, Greens and FDP.

(Orig. text: Gabriele Immenkeppel)