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Insights / Inside AOE

Sustainable & flexible even during lunch break: REBOWL at AOE

June 30, 2022

When it comes to sustainability, the AOE kitchen has made a lot of progress in recent years: The AOE Meals, for example, nowadays consist mostly of meatless and plant-based ingredients. At the AOE Hackathon 2022, we started to implement the digital food pass, which was first used at our Industry 4.0 network event, for the AOE Meals as well, in order to make the supply chains of the ingredients digitally trackable.

As of July, there is another "pfandtastic" innovation for more sustainability: We now use reusable bowls from REBOWL. This is Germany's largest reusable system for food and beverages and works like a deposit system in the beverage market: To use a REBOWL bowl, you pay a rental fee of 5 euros; when you return it, you get your money back – and you can return it at all REBOWL partners throughout Germany. These are currently over 5,000 distribution points such as restaurants, canteens and catering businesses, many of which are also located in Wiesbaden.

Starting from January 2023, the German Packaging Act will make it mandatory for restaurants to offer a reusable alternative for takeaways anyway. We think that's a good thing, because single-use plastic for to-go drinks and food accounts for a large but avoidable share of our waste production and unnecessarily consumes resources – not only crude oil, but also wood, water, and electricity. We consume 280,000 tons of disposable packaging in Germany every year! That's why we already use REBOWL, even though as a small company kitchen we are of course not affected by the packaging law.

AOE and take-away, but why?

We hope that by offering reusable bowls, we will be able to reduce our internal waste even further in the future: on the one hand, packaging when employees take AOE Meals home as a doggy bag or when preparing and storing them in the kitchen. But also when something is left over, either on the plate after lunch or in the big pot in the kitchen. REBOWL makes it easy for employees to take home complete meals or leftovers in a planned or spontaneous manner, even if they don't have their own fresh food container.

By the way, we have been offering a take-away option for AOE Meals for quite some time now – this way we also want to create as much flexibility as possible with regard to lunch and, for example, give employees who work from home the opportunity to still benefit from our delicious and healthy meals. Up to now, however, this was only possible if employees brought their own containers.

We do realize of course that we won't save the world with reusable containers alone, but at the same time it's a simple step that we can take along the way, so to speak. In any case, we look forward to seeing reusable systems like REBOWL even more everywhere in the future, and disposable packaging and food waste hopefully less and less.