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The greenbox reusable packaging kit

A change in the German Packaging Act (VerpackG) requires many restaurant owners to offer reusable packaging, in addition to their disposable packaging, from 1 January 2023. This poses a range of challenges for catering businesses. The greenbox reusable packaging kit helps to make the switch easy.

Whole books would probably have to be written to illuminate the topic of reusable packaging from all sides – unfortunately, we can’t offer you any. But we have dealt intensively with various aspects of the packaging regulations and have put together this compact overview for you.

Do you not have the time to read the whole text or are already familiar with some aspects? Then simply use the table of contents to jump to the passages that interest you the most.

Laws and obligations

In order to reduce the amount of packaging waste in the catering sector, the Mehrwegpflicht will apply in Germany from 1 January 2023. It requires catering businesses (including delivery services, caterers and self-service counters) to offer reusable packaging, in addition to their disposable packaging, from the start of 2023.

The only exceptions are restaurants smaller than 80 square metres and employing fewer than five members of staff. However, these businesses must enable food and drinks to be filled into containers brought along by customers.

In both cases, it is stipulated that the reusable packaging alternative may not be more expensive than the disposable packaging. Only a usage deposit may be charged, which will be refunded to the customer when the container is returned.

In addition, all businesses are obliged to inform customers about the topic of reusable packaging in a visible manner – by means of signs, boards or similar.

Would you like to find out more about the legal requirements? No problem, at our guide you can find more information about the Mehrwegpflicht as well as the ban on single-use plastic.

What needs to be considered when introducing reusable packaging

At first glance, the introduction of the reusable packaging regulation seems to be a big challenge. In addition to the selection and procurement of the appropriate reusable containers, the question of the right quantity of containers, the storage of the new packaging, the deposit and the cleaning of the containers are aspects that should be well thought out in advance.

We have researched and compiled the most important results for you. You can find information on the advantages and disadvantages of different material alternatives for reusable containers, tips for introducing reusable tableware, and a comparison of the costs and benefits of reusable containers for purchase and as a rental model in our blog posts on merways.com.

At greenbox, we have also developed a reusable packaging kit that can be easily integrated into your everyday catering life. Flexibly, you can combine the Häppy Box© reusable containers, which can be printed, with the Merways mobile app, our free deposit solution, and do even more good for the environment thanks to carbon-emissions compensation.

The Häppy Box© reusable product range

At greenbox, we have been offering reusable containers for several years now. We are particularly proud of the Häppy Box© product range, which has already convinced many restaurant owners. This is because our reusable containers can be effortlessly integrated into daily restaurant business. The containers correspond to the well-known sizes and shapes of disposable packaging, so no major adjustment is required in handling. It is not necessary to adjust portions or change familiar processes when setting up and delivering food.

The Häppy Box© types are also well stackable in themselves and on their lids. So they take up little space and can be transported safely during deliveries. In terms of stackability, they also impress when combined with the disposable greenbox range. Disposable and reusable containers can be stored together in a small space.

In comparison to other reusable containers, our containers are very light and robust. And unlike reusable packaging made from conventional plastic, Häppy Box© products are free of petroleum. They are instead made from our own bio-compound, a composite of wood flour and biopolymer. The composite consists of 98 % renewable raw materials (60 % biopolymer made from plant oil, 40 % wood flour from certified sustainable forestry), making it particularly sustainable. If the reusable containers from Häppy Box© break or are no longer so nice to look at after repeated use, they can be returned to greenbox. We responsibly take care of the recycling of the products so that the raw materials used remain in the material cycle for as long as possible.

In order to meet the demands of our customers, we are continuously developing the Häppy Box© range. In addition to Häppy Bowl® and Häppy Cup© (soup cup), we offer two and three-compartment menu plates, cups, hamburger and menu boxes, and cutlery. A reusable plate will be added soon too. And that’s not all! Feel free to share your needs with us at products@greenbox.bio.

Are you still not convinced by the Häppy Box© range? Then take a look at happy-reusabowl.com, where you will find more information. A sample order is no problem either, so you can test our products thoroughly.

The advantages of take-away business

Still unsure if you want to sell your food out-of-home? In 2020, global sales in the online food delivery market were around $107 billion. In 2024, market research predicts that sales will already exceed 182 billion dollars. Germany is listed at 3.2 billion. People are ordering more and more frequently. Use this fact to your advantage! We have put together a few examples and tips that illustrate the positive effectiveness of the take-away business.

Take-away menu

Some restaurants put together a special take-away menu. This is usually a slimmed-down form of the actual menu. It contains only dishes that are quick and easy to prepare. Dishes that lose quality and taste during short transport routes, on the other hand, should be eliminated. In addition, the food must be easy to pack. You decide which dishes should be integrated into your foodsta® online shop.

Merways mobile app

To make the switch to reusable containers easier and to make life easier for your staff and customers, we have developed the free Merways mobile app. This enables returnable containers to be borrowed without a deposit, cashless payment for food and drinks, and other benefits such as direct contact with your customers, for example by sending daily or weekly offers.

The use of the Merways mobile app is completely free and without obligation for you. You are not obliged to use the app either when purchasing our reusable containers. You can even use our app if you have chosen other reusable containers.

To lend out the reusable containers, only a QR code from the mobile app of the person borrowing needs to be scanned. This saves time by eliminating the hassle of scanning each container.

In addition, we also provide you with statistics on loan development and trend analyses via the app, which are intended to help you keep an eye on your container needs and reorder containers in good time.

With our app, you don’t have to worry about the containers being returned to you in time. Your customers will be reminded of the return completely automatically. If containers are not returned after 10 weeks, you will be refunded 5 euros per container – automatically, without any efforts from you.

The uncomplicated processing will also please your customers. They, too, will find it easier to borrow through the app, and we only charge fees if the containers are not returned within 14 days.

An additional plus for you and your customers: the Merways mobile app can be used offline. Missing mobile data and Wi-Fi outages, for example during delivery trips, are no longer an obstacle when it comes to using reusable containers.

For the sake of the climate: carbon-reduced and compensated

Reusable solutions promote the gentle use of resources and the reduction of single-use packaging waste. The recyclability of our products also avoids waste. And we want to go further in terms of sustainability. Which is why we avoid and reduce carbon emissions wherever possible. Any carbon emissions produced are fully offset in certified climate protection projects. For each use of the Merways mobile app, we additionally compensate for 1 kilogram of carbon, which corresponds to about 5 kilometres by car (petrol, 5 l/100 km).

You can read more about our commitment to climate protection here.