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. With this in mind, we work to minimise the use of paper, as well as disposable packaging such as takeaway coffee cups and shopping bags.

Paper: digital instead of print

As part of our Logistics Roadmap 2020, we are progres­sively 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 coffee special­ities and hot beverages in reusable porcelain tableware, and only provide coffee in disposable takeaway cups if customers specif­i­cally ask for them. We want to further reduce the share of disposable cups and, since August 2015, have given customers the option of getting refills in their own reusable cups, always 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 a variety of designs and made from various 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. Of course, the discount also applies when refilling cups from other vendors. 

To further raise customer awareness of the problem of disposable cups, in September 2017 we installed a temporary instal­lation made of disposable coffee cups in downtown Hamburg, and gave away Tchibo reusable cups. We also shot a YouTube clip on the topic, which has already been viewed more than three million times.

To establish a systematic use of reusable cups, we are partic­i­pating in the Kehrwieder-Becher initiative to promote reusable cups in Hamburg city centre, and in similar initia­tives in Munich, Berlin, and the German federal state of Hesse. 

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 disposable plastic bags in Germany as of January 2016. The move was a success: As a result, the number of free plastic bags given out at Tchibo shops in Germany fell by nearly 90 % in 2016 and remained stable in 2017. Customers have the alter­native of buying a range of high-quality reusable bags, which we further expanded in 2017. If required, we sell disposable bags for 20 cents.