German Bundesliga football club Borussia Dortmund has revealed plans to introduce a returnable beaker system at its Signal Iduna Park stadium.

The club has been sent an online petition, which has been signed by 100,000 people, calling for it to switch from its PLA disposable beaker system to a returnable one.

Nick Heubeck, a 19-year-old football fan, was responsible for the petition and he met with the club last week along with German environmental organisation Deutsche Umwelthlife (DUH).

In the coming months, Dortmund will work with DUH to plan its new beaker system, which club managing director Carsten Cramer says “makes sense from an environmental standpoint and is above all sustainable”. Cramer has also said the club will stop using plastic bags at all fan shops.

With a capacity of 81,000, Signal Iduna Park is the largest stadium in Germany and one of the biggest in Europe.

Cramer said: “Our fans in the stadium currently drink from cornstarch beakers, which are recycled in a nearby bio-gas facility after use. However, as the public discussion surrounding plastic waste intensifies and given the increased knowledge we have regarding the environmental footprint of the PLA beaker − extending from raw material extraction to use and subsequent recycling − we’re now reviewing the decision that we made in the summer of 2015.”

He added: “We’re prepared to take the path to returnable beakers in order to kickstart something. But our stadium, which is unique not only in terms of its atmosphere, means we face one major challenge: ultimately, the system must on the one hand adhere to the highest ecological standards.

“But on the other hand it must reflect our efforts to have searched for what is in equal measure the most environmentally and fan-friendly solution for the supporters of Borussia Dortmund. Additionally, the solution must withstand the security concerns in the largest German stadium and in particular in the South Stand, where 25,000 spectators attend each game.”

DUH’s head of recycling management, Thomas Fischer, said: “We’d like to thank Borussia Dortmund for the opportunity to have a direct exchange. It’s in our interest to work constructively with BVB and to bring our expert knowledge on beaker systems into the process. We’re aware of the fact that the specific situation in Dortmund – in and around the largest stadium in Germany – needs to be considered carefully when it comes to developing an optimal returnable beaker system.”

Image: Валерий Дед