METRO bans conventional plastic from canteens

15 March 2019

The about 5,000 employees on Düsseldorf Campus are called upon to bring their own reusable lunchboxes in the future. Single-use containers that are made from greener alternatives will only be issued upon request and against a sustainability fee.


METRO is also focusing on internal awareness.


Just in time for the start of Lent, the wholesale specialist METRO banned conventional single-use plastic articles from the two company restaurants on the Düsseldorf Campus on 6 March 2019. The currently available alternatives are made of sugar cane and corn starch and are to be replaced by reusable options in the medium term. With the Hashtag #Plasticfasting, METRO internally announced on Ash Wednesday that it will no longer use conventional plastic articles in its canteens. 

The about 5,000 employees on Campus are called upon to bring their own reusable boxes for lunch in the future. Even if upon request lunch is currently still served in single-use alternative plastic articles made of sugar cane and corn starch, these will also disappear from the canteens in the medium term. For this reason, from 15 March 2019 a sustainability contribution of 50 cents will be due for every single-use lunch box distributed in the canteens.

50% of this contribution will go directly to the Pacific Garbage Screening (PGS) project. The idea, developed by the Aachen-based architect Marcella Hansch, is to rid the seas and rivers of plastic in the near future. In addition to working on a visionary solution for a platform that will remove plastic waste from river deltas and oceans, the association is also fighting against further pollution of the oceans through environmental education and public relations work. PGS will use the amount from this campaign to expand its personnel capacities in the field of environmental education. Developing educational materials and working with and in schools are the next steps on the way to a clean future for our seas.

From 1 May, METRO will also extend its sustainability fee to the coffee-to-go cups that are available in the Rioba Café Bar on Campus. Already in June 2018, a deposit system has been installed in the Café Bar. The 100 % climate-neutral porcelain coffee cups have a tight lid made of plastic elastomer - without toxic or harmful additives or plasticizers. All elements of the cup are reusable and dishwasher safe. The employees receive the coffee mug against a deposit of 5 €. The used cup is simply returned for cleaning with the next order and exchanged for a clean deposit cup. For conventional paper cups, a sustainability contribution of 25 cents will be due from 1 May – 100 % of which will be donated to the Pacific Garbage Screening project.

Alternative single-use packaging can only be the first step towards sustainable change. The best way out of the single-use dilemma is to use reusable solutions. Even if the menu containers are made from the remains of the sugar cane plant (bagasse), which remain after the sugar juice has been extracted, and the salad containers are made from PLA, a bioplastic made from corn starch - their life cycle is nevertheless short. Only a few minutes after use, the containers end up in the garbage. 

The campus action is part of the #METROPlasticFighters campaign - an initiative with which METRO is creating awareness among over 150,000 employees worldwide for the use and proper disposal of coventional plastics as well as alternatives.