For all our eco-conscious posturing, we Berliners still haven’t figured out an environmentally friendly way to get our coffee to-go. We thought we had the answer back in January, when the Just Swap It initiative distributed reusable containers among a number of Berlin cafés, to be used and returned for a €4 deposit. But they fizzled out after a “pilot phase”, and now the Bavarians have stepped in.
Recup, founded in Rosenheim in December 2016, arrived in Berlin and merged with Just Swap It in July. Gone are the silicone-lidded bamboo cups, replaced by easier-to-manufacture lightweight, unlidded ones made of – gasp – plastic. On the bright side, the Pfand is only €1, much cheaper than other keep cups (like The Barn’s €10.50 version), and you get a discount on coffee when you use it, determined by the individual café – 10 percent off, your first coffee free or the price of the deposit.
It’s an affordable, hassle-free experience, but if Recup wants to succeed in Berlin, it’s got to widen its network of partner cafés (there are only 40 for now; the company is “in talks” with the third-wave heavy-hitters) and maybe introduce an English version of its website and corresponding app. Government funding, like Recup has in its home state, also wouldn’t hurt.
Whether by pushing this scheme or another one (phase out disposable to-go cups entirely, the way supermarkets did plastic bags?), isn’t it high time for our red-red-green coalition to finally commit to helping us reduce our wasteful urban habits? If the Bavarians can, we can!
Find participating cafés at recup.de