Local news translated – April 20, 2023

Graphic by U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart Public Affairs Office

Host Nation Update, April 20, 2023


Deutsche Umwelthilfe tests Lidl’s “Circular Bottle” with criticism

Discounter Lidl has launched a campaign with Günther Jauch to promote a disposable bottle as particularly environmentally friendly. The German Environmental Aid (DUH) criticizes the new campaign about the so-called “circular bottle” of the discounter based in Bad Wimpfen (Heilbronn district). The structure of the study commissioned specifically for this purpose is questionable, and the DUH accuses the discounter of lobbying.

Lidl wants to become more environmentally friendly with the new “circular bottle”: It should be completely recycled, so no new plastic needs to be used. Lidl claims to make 100 percent new PET disposable bottles from the ones returned to them. Lidl wants to draw attention to this with a large advertising campaign featuring Günther Jauch. In the commercial, the brand ambassador holds the circular bottle in his hands and addresses the viewers: “Lidl says that this is one of the most environmentally friendly bottles, of all things, a disposable plastic bottle.” Lidl wants to substantiate this with a study commissioned from the Institute for Energy and Environment. In this study, the Lidl circular bottle performs well, even better than plastic or glass reusable bottles.

The German Environmental Aid criticizes the study

Thomas Fischer of the German Environmental Aid criticizes how the study is structured: “A highly optimized packaging system that Lidl has built is being compared with the average packaging of the entire reusable market. Essentially, apples are being compared to oranges.” Nevertheless, Thomas Fischer confirms that Lidl’s disposable bottle has become more environmentally friendly compared to the past: “Lidl’s plastic bottles have indeed become lighter, and they also use the material from old plastic bottles.” This generates much less CO2. Most new PET disposable bottles consist of a maximum of 50 percent recycled plastic. The rest is made from fossil oil. According to Fischer, the recycling rate of almost 100 percent only works in this way at Lidl, “because Lidl has its own recycling facilities, and this bottle cycle only works if everything comes from one source.” Lidl claims that the new system cost them 100 million euros.

Campaign as Lobbying?

“And it’s also cheap for you as a consumer,” Günther Jauch explains in the commercial. According to the German Environmental Aid, Lidl’s campaign is not only aimed at consumers, but also at the EU. The European Union has indeed presented a plan for a reusable obligation for the retail trade. This obligation would mean that discounters like Lidl would also have to offer reusable systems. The current disposable bottle campaign is therefore good lobbying, says Fischer of the German Environmental Aid: “That’s the signal to politics that should be sent out: Please forget about promoting reusable systems, because disposable is great.” Reusable bottles are still more climate-friendly than disposable bottles In general, the conclusion still applies, as several other comparison studies have shown: reusable bottles are still more climate-friendly than disposable bottles. (SWR Reaktion 20 April)


What should air travelers expect?

At Stuttgart Airport, passengers should expect significant disruptions again on Friday. The union ver.di called for a warning strike by employees in the aviation security sector, passenger control, and personnel and cargo control. They are expected to stop work from Thursday night to Friday, according to the union’s announcement on Wednesday. The warning strike is expected to end from Friday night to Saturday.

The passenger and personnel and cargo control will also be on strike at the Baden-Baden/Karlsruhe airport. In Stuttgart, the warning strike will end already from Friday night to Saturday. As a result, Stuttgart airport has already canceled all flights scheduled for Friday. (SWR Reaktion 20 April)


Zukunft made in Ehningen: BW will become the center of quantum technology

On Tuesday, Minister-President Kretschmann inaugurated a large quantum research laboratory in Ehningen. A whole new district is soon to be built here.

On Tuesday, Winfried Kretschmann, the Minister-President of Baden-Württemberg (Green Party), inaugurated the “Quantum Gardens” research laboratory in Ehningen (district of Böblingen). Researchers, programmers, and companies will test “quantum computing” on 800 square meters of space. The location of software developer IBM in Ehningen has been home to Europe’s only commercially used quantum computer for two years.

Experts expect that quantum computers will revolutionize the solution of complex problems in the future. According to Minister-President Kretschmann, Baden-Württemberg is expected to play a leading role in research worldwide.

Quantum computer can be tested

The experimental laboratory “Quantum Gardens” inaugurated on Tuesday in Ehningen was developed jointly by software developer IBM and the Fraunhofer Institute. Christian Tutschku, head of quantum computing at Fraunhofer Institute, emphasized that pioneering work is currently being done in Ehningen: “The next generation may be able to do it better than we can.”

One day, quantum computers should be able to perform computing tasks that were previously impossible, for example in medicine, finance, and logistics. “Everything we know today in terms of information technology will be completely revolutionized by the quantum computer,” added IBM spokesperson Daniel Unkelhäußer. Companies such as Bosch, Mercedes-Benz, or Trumpf are already testing quantum computing.

New district planned for Ehningen

The new experimental laboratory “Quantum Gardens” in Ehningen is just the beginning. A completely new district called “Quantum Village” is also planned. The residential and working quarter is expected to offer more than 140,000 square meters of space in the future. 10,000 people are expected to live here.

Baden-Württemberg aims to build a network of research and industry around the new technologies. However, it will still be a long time before concrete applications can be realized. (SWR Reaktion 20 April)