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Restaurants will soon have to offer reusable packaging for takeaway food

Do you sell takeaway food or drinks? From 1 January 2024, you must offer your customer the opportunity to receive the food in a reusable lunch box and the drink in a reusable cup. In addition, the customer must be able to return the packaging for washing. The change is introduced to reduce resource consumption and littering.

On January 1, 2024, a new requirement will come into effect for those who run a restaurant or cafe business. You will have to offer customers who buy takeaway food or drink the option to receive it in reusable packaging. In addition to being able to use several times, the packaging must also be part of a so-called rotation system. Simply put, your customers should be able to return it for washing so that it can be used again.

The reusable packaging must be of a type that has as little negative impact on the environment and human health as possible. You who sell food and drink and offer takeaway must also inform your customers about how disposable products affect the environment and what the benefits are of us reducing our consumption of these. The regulations are part of the EU's Single-Use Plastics Directive.

Who is covered by the requirement?

The requirement to offer reusable packaging applies to businesses that currently provide fast food* in disposable packaging to the end consumer. This means that food and drink provided at, for example, restaurants, festivals, cafes, food trucks, kiosks and grocery stores are covered by the requirements.

The requirement applies if you use 150 or more disposable boxes/cups on average per day. The number of mugs and boxes sold per day counts as a total. In two years, in 2026, the limit will be lowered to 75 disposable boxes/cups per day.


You are open 100 days a year and sell 10,000 cups of coffee served in disposable cups and 8,000 servings of fast food in disposable food boxes in total during the year. This means that you have an average of 180 boxes/mugs per day and must therefore offer reusable food boxes and mugs from 1 January.

Exemption from the requirement

There are some exceptions to the requirement for reusable packaging. One such is if you use mugs or lunch boxes made of paper only. Keep in mind, however, that many paper cups and lunch boxes often contain some plastic and are therefore covered by the requirement.

Flexible wrapping, for example paper around the hamburger or plastic film around the sandwich, is also not covered by the requirement.

Questions and answers at the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (in Swedish)

*Fast food

Fast food according to the regulation means food that is:

  • Intended to be eaten directly at the point of sale or taken away to be eaten at another location shortly after the sale,
  • Intended to be eaten out of the package, and
  • Ready to eat without further cooking, heating or other preparation carried out by the consumer. This means that the sale of food boxes in which the food must be heated or prepared further by the consumer before it is consumed, is not covered by the requirement.

The requirements apply to those who provide fast food in a disposable lunchbox.