Wasting resources has come out of fashion, and sustainability is trendier than ever. Cologne based start-up VYTAL is perfectly up to date with its innovative system relying on reusable containers to avoid disposable and plastic packaging in gastronomy. It’s deserved the label of “future-proof”, as our author Markus Sekulla thinks.
Germany in 2021 – It is the second year of the Covid-19 pandemic. Gastronomy is closed, delivery services and take-out packaging are ubiquitous. At the same time, the mountain of plastic waste to be incinerated and recycled, not only in Germany but also in other parts of the world subject to lower environmental standards, is growing. This approach harms the environment, and as a result humankind. Emissions increase, and so does pollution of the seas in a cycle we all need to work together to break.
VYTAL is aiming to revolutionize take-out food
How does it work exactly, though? The start-up’s idea is as simple as it is ingenious. Just a few steps are required on the path to greater sustainability and a #bowlwithbenefits:
Of course, the system was suffering from the typical chicken-or-egg issue in the beginning. If the VYTAL boxes aren’t offered by enough restaurants, they’re not of any interest for the customer. If customers aren’t using the app, the model will collapse.
I started using the boxes in late summer of 2020, when Düsseldorf had 21 participating restaurants. That included three in my own hood (Flingern), among them luckily some that I have always liked to eat at. That makes me proud of the packaging units I have saved so far, which I can always see at the top of the app (28, whoop whoop). Supporting the coronavirus-stricken gastronomy scene in my quarter as a result is another positive effect.
Fast-forward to March 2021. Our city now has 41 restaurants, plus a few in the closer vicinity. The system seems to become established, making the service even better for myself as a user. It sounds like a proper win-win-win situation.
Let’s talk about the founders briefly. My question when dealing with such start-ups tends to be why they aren’t sitting in Berlin. Cologne, and as a result North Rhine-Westphalia, offers the founders plenty of benefits that everyone from the Rhineland is closely familiar with already. It’s easy to get into contact with people, and that is relevant for VYTAL’s business both when recruiting and when gaining business partners and customers.
I simply love sophisticated concepts like this one. My advice to everyone is to jump in and join this start-up idea from North Rhine-Westphalia, aiming to make the world a better place.
Text: Markus Sekulla | Photos: Markus Sekulla