Continue to fight to-go waste!

In November 2017, a student survey on coffee to-go use on campus took place as part of the European Week of Waste Prevention. The result: the majority of respondents were in favour of a sustainable reusable cup system.

Regarding their previous preferences in terms of cup use, 56% of respondents said they preferred to drink from porcelain, while only 17% favoured a paper to-go cup. However, the actual usage shows a different picture: 40% of respondents drink most often from porcelain cups, while 36% of coffee consumers use the to-go variety. The result made it clear that to-go cups are used frequently, but not so much per se. In addition, the high potential for the introduction of a reusable cup system became apparent. For the introduction of a citywide system, the University of Applied Sciences Darmstadt and the Science City Darmstadt, Darmstadt City Marketing e.V., IFID, EAD, HEAG, e-hoch-3 and the Studierendenwerk joined forces.

The so-called "Darmstadt Way" was to tackle the flood of waste from disposable cups with a jointly used recycling system. The goal was to save 1,054,000* disposable cups per year in Darmstadt. This would mean the avoidance of about 12 tonnes* of waste per year and a reduction of 20%* of disposable cups.

The introduction of the reusable system was planned for spring 2019 and was to be further scientifically accompanied by Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences during ongoing operation.

*Guide values

Figures on to-go cup consumption

Every hour, Germans consume 320,000 disposable cups, 89 cups per second, three billion cups per year!

The production process, including the lid, produces approx. 111,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year and approx. 40,000 trees fall victim to the cardboard required. Water consumption during production amounts to 1.5 billion litres, i.e. half a litre per cup - more than the amount served in it!

(Source: Bavarian Consumer Advice Centre)

Our NEWBY: FairCup

The network worked for two years on the development of the "Darmstadt Way", and in summer 2019, it was discontinued. The assumed benefits were no longer considered certain and there was a lack of arguments for developing our own innovative cup with existing solutions.

As a result, the city of Darmstadt searched for an alternative reusable cup system and found FairCup. The decision to cooperate was made in November 2019 and FairCup was officially presented in Darmstadt in January 2020. The organisation and expansion of the concept is to be carried out by the newly founded HEAG FairCup GmbH.

There were several reasons why the decision was made in favour of FairCup in the end. "In addition to its material properties, the FairCup scores with the fact that it goes beyond its use as a reusable cup for "coffee-to-go" and is intended as a packaging system," says Dr. Silke Kleihauer, project manager of the Initiative: Sustainable Development at Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences.

The goal of the cooperation partners is to use the cup in all situations in Darmstadt, including here at the Studierendenwerk. Because it has many advantages:

• Suitable for both cold and hot drinks

• Made of 100% recyclable polypropylene (PP), free of melamine and bisphenol A (BPA)

• Reusable up to 1,000 times

• Uncomplicated return options via FairCup partners and in future via certain reverse vending machines

• Affordable deposit fee of €1.50 in total for the cup with lid

• Leak-proof and available in different sizes.

• In addition to the cup, bowls with lids and dividers for food are also on offer

There are now over 800 partners nationwide in the FairCup returnable deposit system. In Darmstadt, in addition to the Studierendenwerk, the following companies are on board as well:

• Cafe Bellevue

• Cafe Fräulein Mondschein

• vinocentral


• Thilda's Ice Cream

• Clinical Centre Darmstadt

• Alnatura

• Real

• Peter Behrens School

Other sponsors of the project are the Hessian Ministry of the Environment, the Science City of Darmstadt and the city business portal "Darmstadt im Herzen".

The Studierendenwerk is pleased to make a further positive contribution to sustainability in general and waste avoidance in particular with this joint project.





Sustainability Manager

Georg Richarz

Porträt des Nachhaltigkeitsmanagers Georg Richarz

phone: 06151 16-29438