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Gothenburg launches unique take-away deposit scheme

A number of Gothenburg cafés are now offering a deposit-paid multiple-use container for take-aways. The deposit can be reclaimed using an app. The concept was originally created for Gothenburg Culture Festival, but was trialled in the city instead and now provides a new way to live a sustainable life.

Foto: Elin Rein/Göteborg & Co.

The idea for the new deposit system came about when planning for Gothenburg Culture Festival, and is another step within the single-use free events project being run in cooperation between various agencies and businesses in the city. The aim has always been to create a way for people to change their habits and live more sustainably, both at events and in their everyday lives.

“This is a very important project,” explains Filip Eklund, Environmental Manager at Göteborg & Co for Gothenburg Culture Festival. “Not least in terms of identifying models that can solve the huge challenge of litter, but also for paving the way within this vital area. We want to support others with knowledge about single-use free events, and to help the industry to develop within the field.”

Because Gothenburg Culture Festival had to be cancelled this year, the unique cashless deposit system is now being piloted in the city. What makes it different is that the deposit is refunded via an app. When the consumer then buys another take-away or wants to return the container and spork, they can choose which of the participating eateries to use.

Small-scale trial
Four Gothenburg cafés have currently signed up to the trial, which is expected to run until the end of December. However, the ambition is to continue the scheme in the future, and to include more locations.

“I like the idea,” says Johanna from Jammin Jamaican Soulfood. “Taking all the environmental aspects into consideration isn’t easy, and it can sometimes be expensive. But this is a simple way to make a difference. And it’s easy for our guests, too. We started a week ago, and we’ve already sold four containers. More people are choosing take-aways now, and more people are working from home and want to take their food with them. And now it’s autumn, people don’t want to sit outside and eat any more. So it feels like the perfect time to start doing this!”

The deposit container and spork are made from biobased BPA-free plastic, and are microwave and dishwasher safe. The project is being carried out in partnership between Göteborg & Co, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, Sustainable Waste and Water, Light My Fire, PantaPå and the Swedish Waste Management Association.

The participating cafés in Gothenburg are currently Matería, Jammin Jamaican Soulfood, Hasselsson Popup and Kafé Gapet.