Reusable offer obligation
The obligation to offer reusable packaging has been in force in Germany since January 1, 2023, and obliges restaurants, cafés, and bistros that offer meals on the go to offer their products in both disposable and reusable packaging. The reusable version may not be more expensive than the product in the disposable packaging. The companies are allowed to hand out the reusable packaging in return for a deposit, which is then refunded when the packaging is returned. The obligation under the Packaging Act is directed at all "final distributors" who offer food packaging made of disposable plastic and disposable cups, regardless of their material. The term "final distributor" refers to all those who sell to-go packaging filled with food or beverages to consumers - i.e., as a rule, catering establishments such as restaurants, cafés, bistros, but also canteens, gas stations and catering companies. The aim of the obligation is to produce fewer disposable products and to enable waste volumes to be avoided.
Businesses such as snack bars, kiosks and late-night stores that have no more than 80m2 of store space and employ no more than five people are exempt from the obligation, but these businesses must allow their customers to fill reusable containers they have brought with them.