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Source: Freiburg Cup

This German City Has A Unique City-Wide Alternative To Disposable Cups

By Tessa Love

If you've been following green initiatives for a while now, you know the common enemy that is the disposable cup. Whether getting a coffee,  smoothie, or fountain soda, paper, plastic and styrofoam disposable cups are everywhere. And after using them to drink your single beverage, they're thrown away only to slowly decompose and leach toxins into the environment. 

There's an easy solution, of course: Just forgo the disposable cup in favor of a reusable one you carry with you. Well, that's easier said than done. Remembering to keep a cup on you is its own challenge; and sometimes you just need that midday caffeine pick-me-up, eco-friendly mug or not. So you guiltily use the paper cup, and throw it away.

Knowing this struggle is real, the German city of Freiburg took it upon itself last year to provide citizens with foolproof, reusable cup system. Rather than expecting residents to BYO cup (or buy a brand new one on the spot), Freiburg has created the Freiburg Cup, a reusable, plastic to-go cup with a disposable lid that customers can obtain with a €1 deposit and return to any one of the 100 participating businesses across the city for re-use.