Magdeburg (dpa/sa) - The head of the Hotel and Restaurant Association (Dehoga) in Saxony-Anhalt, Tobias Schmidt, has criticized the obligation to provide reusable packaging in the catering industry since the beginning of the year. "From now on we have to charge the same price for one-way and returnable. The guests don't even take them with them and the food ends up in the garbage," said Schmidt of the German Press Agency. Many guests are not willing to pay a surcharge for the more environmentally friendly packaging. "So it doesn't make any sense at all," says Schmidt.
A new regulation in the Packaging Act stipulates that restaurants, bistros and cafés that sell food and drinks to take away must offer both disposable and reusable packaging. The reusable packaging must not be more expensive than the disposable alternative. The regulation also includes canteens, petrol stations and catering companies. However, smaller shops, such as snack bars, late-night shops or kiosks, with fewer than five employees are excluded.
The next few months will show what impact the obligation will have on individual companies, said Schmidt. "I think everything is just going to get more expensive." Delivery gastronomy is most affected by the effects of the introduced obligation. "I can also imagine that some colleagues simply no longer offer to pack the groceries," said Schmidt. If guests then bring containers to take their food with them, the question then arises as to whether they are hygienically safe: "We're still talking about food here."
In the short term, the obligation to use reusable packaging will have no impact on consumer behavior, Schmidt predicted. "Their habits are too ingrained for that." It is unclear whether a change will occur in the long term. "But I find a reusable pizza box lying around until the next order is problematic," said the Dehoga President.