Ban on disposal drink containers and tableware in Munich, Germany (Münchner Einwegverbot)

Project information

Index: 0694R2
Priority:2: Environment and risk prevention
Sub Theme:Waste management
Location GERMANY BAYERN Munich Mittelfranken Start/End date of the practice
Start: 1991

Topic of the practice

Waste prevention - Packaging / disposable food and drink containers

Good Practice Information

In 1991 in Germany, the local government of Munich banned the use of disposable crockery (paper plates, plastic cups, plastic forks and knifes) and packaging (single-use cans, plastic or glass bottles…).On public land, since 1991, a by-law forbids the use and sale of disposable drink containers and tableware. The by-law1 states: “At events that are conducted on land or in facilities owned by the city, food and
beverages may only be served in reusable packaging and containers that are subjected to a mandatory deposit scheme; this requirement also applies to retail spaces owned by the city.
Potential financial support granted of facilities and events is conditional to compliance with this obligation. Exceptions to this requirement may only be allowed in special cases. "Packaging and containers are considered reusable when they are foreseen for several reuses. The use of disposable (single-use) tableware is prohibited.
Violations of this duty can be punished with fines. Exceptions may be permitted only in particularly justified cases, upon written request.2 This obligation applies to all city facilities and events.Moreover, for smaller-scale events (200-300 people), the City of Munich cooperates with MobielSpiel e.V offering the possibility to rent a crockery and dishwasher service. The City of Munich also promotes returnable bottles for beverage.Dish & dishwashing equipment rental services are provided by many private organizations as well as the city.The city offer is the following: rental of mobile dishwasher(“Geschirrmobil”): a restaurant dishwasher, cables to connect electricity and water, a prewash sink,120 sets of
crockery (2 glasses, 2 plates, 2 forks, knife, 2 spoons…) for 300 to 1000 participants, lighting. The service includes transport and set-up, explanations and dish washing product, but the station itself needs to be manned by the event organizer.

Evidence of success

The reuse (“trip”) rate of reusable food and drink containers must be sufficiently high for a reuse system to be more advantageous than one-use systems. The willingness of organizers and caterers to use reusable meets organizational and financial problems. The switch from disposable to reusable materials requires prior knowledge about the collection and cleanin of reusable dishes, as well as hygiene and logistics.In Germany and Austria surveys among event participants have shown that they are well aware of the environmental benefits of reusable food and drink containers and that they are overwhelmingly favourable to their use. Several German, Austrian and Swiss comparative environmental assessments have strongly concluded that there are clear environmental benefits to reusable drink containers at large scale events, and their assumptions are grounded in experience.

Contact details to obtain further information on the practice

Frederic Weihberg

Abfallwirtschaftsbetrieb München

Annex completed on: 04-11-2012

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