University of Bayreuth, Press Release No. 209/2022, 27.12.2022

"Environmental protection is not free": the canteen at the University of Bayreuth has been using reusable containers for a long time

Restaurants, bistros and cafés that sell takeaway food will be obliged to offer their products in both disposable and reusable packaging from 2023. The refectory at the University of Bayreuth has long since made the switch and is a pioneer when it comes to sustainable takeaway food.

From 1 January 2023, restaurants will have to offer reusable containers in the to-go area. A huge change for many businesses. But not for the canteen and cafeterias of the Studentenwerk Oberfranken (SWO) at the University of Bayreuth. Here, the focus has been on reusable since 2019 - and with success. Since reusable bowls have been available in the canteen at the University of Bayreuth, no more disposable food packaging has been purchased.

The cafeteria started with reusable coffee cups. Since 2019, the cups have been available everywhere the SWO offers takeaway coffee. The remaining stocks of plain to-go cups have been used up and the porcelain cups abolished. "Preparing for the changeover to the reusable system took a little longer. We had to set up the take-backs and also create a place to wash the cups," says Dieter Wolf, catering manager at SWO. This is also a big cost factor with the reusable coffee cups. "Environmental protection does not come for free," emphasises Dieter Wolf. That is why these costs were accepted without hesitation.

The Rebowl containers for food are less expensive. Since 2021, the canteen food has also been available to take away in these practical bowls with lids. The Rebowl system was introduced with the Corona outbreak. At that time, the aim was also to minimise contact among students, which is why they often took advantage of the new offer. Compared to the pre-Corona period, the number of takeaway meals in the refectory has tripled. The introduction of Rebowl was very quick. "The system was already there, we just had to join in," says Wolf. "The effort is much less with the reusable bowls than with the coffee cups. We take the bowls back normally in the refectory at the checkout and don't need a vending machine for that." Several thousand Rebowl bowls have already gone into circulation at the University of Bayreuth. For a deposit of five euros, students and staff receive the bowls to take home.

In Bayreuth, takeaway food is now only served in reusable containers. The canteens at the other SWO locations in Amberg, Coburg, Hof, Münchberg and Weiden will soon follow suit and also switch completely to reusable containers.


Josef Tost
Managing Director Studentenwerk Oberfranken
Tel.: +49 (0) 921 5559-54

Jennifer Opel

Jennifer OpelDeputy Press & PR Manager

Phone: +49 (0)921 / 55-5357