UK cafe chain Costa Coffee yesterday (29 September) announced the launch of a new blockchain-enabled reusable cup lending scheme. The project is to be trialled across 14 of its stores in Glasgow and is set to last for six months.
The scheme has been dubbed BURT (short for Borrow, Use, Reuse and Take back), and will use blockchain technology provided by digital agency Austella.
Under BURT, customers make a one-off payment of £5 and sign up for a digital account where they can scan and monitor stainless steel reusable cups borrowed from stores, with the tech linking their account to the cup using blockchain. Once finished, customers can return the cup to any participating store for it to be deep-cleaned and put back into rotation for others to use. In addition to monitoring the cup location, the tech will also calculate the environmental footprint of cup reuse.
The scheme is intended to incentivise consumers to participate in reusing containers, and make it easier for those who may have forgotten their own cups at home.
“We are excited to be the first national coffee company to be offering a solution like BURT, to further incentivise the uptake of reusable cups in our stores,” Costa Coffee UK & Ireland’s managing director Neil Lake said.
“Alongside our newly launched Costa Coffee Club offer of a free drink for every four drinks bought in a reusable cup, we hope this trial will show another way forward in helping to reduce waste whilst improving customer experience.”
If successful, the project will be rolled out at more UK stores on a trial basis, with customer feedback encouraged to help streamline the initiative. In addition to BURT, the coffee giant is set to take part in the Keep Scotland Beautiful initiative this autumn, set up to encourage consumers to engage in reusing schemes, and improve in-store circularity.
Barry Fisher, CEO at Keep Scotland Beautiful, said: “Effective reuse solutions are essential to reducing waste, changing the way that we consume, and addressing the climate emergency. As the city prepares to host COP26, we look forward to supporting Costa with this initiative and stepping up consumer engagement with them and other retailers, working to facilitate the necessary transition towards more sustainable consumption.”