Hamburg News: Trade and Finance. High-class shopping area in the city centre shown.
El Rojito-Pfandbecher im Einsatz im veganen Restaurant Happenpappen in Hamburg-Eimsbüttel © Julie Nagel

Cafés in Hamburg tackle paper cup scourge

El Rojito coffee trader to stop waste with reusable deposit cup system -11 coffee shops join in

Around 2.8 billion paper coffee cups are used throughout Germany every year, according to the Deutschen Umwelthilfe [German Environmental Aid]. Every German uses 34 disposable paper cups in a year. Tens of thousands tons of wood, synthetics and billions of litres of water and energy are used in the production – enough to supply a small city for a year. All those resources go to waste owing to a lack of recycling means, the organisation said.

Refills in participating cafés

To tackle the waste, El Rojito is launching a refill project on November 1, 2016. Customers pay a deposit and get a reusable coffee cup, which can be used or returned in all participating coffee shops. Similar projects are being launched in Berlin and Rosenheim as well. Roman Witt of El Rojito said: “We got the idea in our team. We are constantly striving for more sustainability. We deliver, for instance, our coffee on our load bikes to customers in the Hamburg vicinity.”

Setting up a comprehensive network

The environment-friendly cups are made of lignin – an organic polymer sourced from environmentally certified forests, El Rojito said. Eleven partners including the vegan Happenpappen in Eimsbüttel, the Herr Max Restaurant on Schulterblatt and the “Kaffee Stark” in St. Pauli are taking part in the project. The aim is to set up a broad network of co-operating partners.

El Rojito is a registered association and has been selling fair trade coffee and supporting producers since 1987. Around 700,000 tons of coffee are imported and 400,000 tons exported every year via the Port of Hamburg. Three-thirds of the coffee drunk in Germany is processed in Hamburg. The German coffee association is also located near Speicherstadt.

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