Sustainable reusable tableware at the Bistro "Rastplatz" reduces to-go packaging waste

Fulda, 14.12.2020 – A delicious breakfast offer and two lunch menus daily made from home-grown organic products produced according to strict ecological guidelines are the hallmark of the ZUFALL Bistro at Hermann-Muth-Straße 4 in Fulda. The “Rastplatz” bistro is run by the non-profit company antonius, also based in Fulda. All the food produced comes from the immediate surroundings of antonius. A successful concept that radiates far beyond the company premises and also attracts food guests from other companies. The Corona pandemic, however, represents a deep cut here as well. Of course, the hygiene concept is strictly adhered to. The consequences are, among other things, not only losses in terms of cosiness, but unfortunately also an increase in packaging waste – because the delicious food is now ordered as to-go. According to NABU, 281,000 tonnes of to-go packaging waste are produced nationwide every year. The largest and fastest growing part of this is food packaging. A development that is currently getting worse. Since it is unclear how much of this packaging can be recycled, even with waste separation according to the rules, there is only one sensible option: avoiding waste-generating and resource-devouring disposable packaging. So, the bistro operator antonius looked around for practicable and sustainable alternatives to save waste and resources for its inclusive canteens and cafés in and around Fulda. With Vytal, they came across a young Cologne-based company that has developed a sophisticated rental system for reusable tableware.

The antonius – Netzwerk Mensch employs a total of 1250 people and offers 320 people with disabilities the opportunity to live in different forms of accommodation. Zufall’s “Rastplatz” is one of six company canteens and school cafeterias in the district of Fulda run by antonius. “With every meal that is passed over the counter every day, an encounter is created,” explains Martin Ruhnke (Head of School Cafeterias and Company Cafeterias). “In everyday interaction, barriers are broken down in a very low-threshold way and personal relationships can develop.” In addition, employees with disabilities can gain work experience that comes close to the working conditions of the labour market.

As sustainability has always played an important role in the company, ZUFALL was quickly convinced of the rental system (see info box) and so, since 1 December 2020, the “Rastplatz” has been offering high-quality reusable tableware for takeaway lunches in the bistro.

At the Fulda branch of ZUFALL logistics group, the antonius kitchen is met with enthusiasm with this environmentally friendly changeover: “We can avoid a lot of plastic waste with the reusable dishes: During the life cycle of at least 200 fillings, each VYTAL bowl saves up to 30 kilograms of CO2 compared to disposable packaging,” says Susanne Friese, who is responsible for health issues in the group. In addition to the reusable cups with lids (various sizes, 100 per cent leak-proof, microwaveable, bisphenol A-free), the bistro also has high-quality VYTAL coffee cups available for loan. And best of all: the offer is free of deposit and free of charge. Susanne Friese therefore calls on her colleagues to join in: “Let’s take steps together towards waste avoidance and sustainability. No more plastic waste in the kitchens at ZUFALL. Take advantage of the offer!

And this is how it works:

1. Download the Vytal app or purchase a membership card in the bistro for a one-time fee of 10 euros.
2. Order takeaway food in Vytal trays.
3. Have the code scanned from your mobile phone at the checkout.
4. After eating, return the tray within 14 days – unrinsed for the first 24 hours, then rinsed.

VYTAL operates Germany’s first digital and deposit-free reusable system for takeaway and delivery meals without a deposit. It is aimed at canteen operators, restaurants, supermarkets and delivery services who pay VYTAL per filling. Customers register once in the VYTAL app or buy a VYTAL offline card and can use it to borrow freshly rinsed bowls from any partner and return them. The entire process is handled digitally via the QR code tags. With the help of reminders and incentives, users are motivated to regularly use and return the reusable dishes in order to maximise the economic and ecological added value of the system. With a return rate of over 98 per cent and an average loan period of 3.5 days, VYTAL achieves better return rates than the German bottle deposit system.

More information: or in the WDR-Beitrag in the media library