Avoidance: less is more

As little packaging material as possible; as much as necessary. This guiding principle has defined the design and type of all packaging at Tchibo since 2015. The goal is to minimise the use of paper, as well as disposable packaging in the form of takeaway coffee cups and shopping bags.

Paper: digital instead of print

As part of Roadmap 2020, we are succes­sively shifting to digital documents in our delivery documen­tation, for both B2B and B2C customers. For deliv­eries to our business partners and Tchibo shops, we have done without paper delivery documents since 2015, and even our private distance-selling customers only receive a printed invoice if they expressly request one. If the shipping address differs from the billing address, customers also receive the invoice by email instead of by post. We also primarily provide user manuals online, as long as they contain exclu­sively non-legal infor­mation.

Reusable cups: nice to see you again!

“Reusable before disposable” is the guideline in our Tchibo coffee bars. We mainly serve beverages in reusable porcelain tableware, and only provide coffee in disposable takeaway cups if customers specif­i­cally ask for them. We would like to further reduce the share of disposable cups and since August 2015, customers have been able to get refills in their own reusable cups, taking safe hygiene standards into account, of course.

In 2016, we took further steps to reduce the plastic and paper waste generated by disposable cups. We proac­tively address our customers by selling attrac­tively priced reusable cups in various designs and materials; this also allows people who have forgotten their own cup to enjoy their coffee in an environ­men­tally friendly way. The dishwasher-proof cups made of recyclable materials can be cleaned at home and brought back for buying refills. We reward this contri­bution to conserving resources with a 10-cent discount on the beverage.

To establish a systematic use of reusable cups, we are partic­i­pating in the Kehrwieder-Becher initiative to examine the intro­duction of a deposit system for reusable cups in Hamburg city centre. Such a system would be more conve­nient for customers, as they would not have to bring their own cup.

Disposable shopping bags: better to avoid than sell

In 2015, business associ­a­tions in Germany and Austria signed voluntary agree­ments to no longer offer plastic bags free of charge. We joined this initiative, and stopped giving out free plastic bags in Germany as of January 2016. With success: 87% fewer have been given out as a result. As an alter­native, we offer reusable bags for sale, or disposable bags for 20 cents. Some of the proceeds from the sale of plastic bags go to support the Müllde­tektive (Waste Detec­tives) project by the Save Our Future (S.O.F.) environ­mental foundation.