Drinks and snacks chain Costa Coffee has today launched a trial of a new blockchain technology-powered reusable cup scheme, called BURT.
BURT – which stands for ‘Borrow, Use, Reuse, Take Back’ – is part of the Coca Cola-owned company’s sustainability strategy and aims to help shift consumer behaviour towards reusing packaging.
The reusable cup scheme trial launches across 14 stores in Glasgow, and will run for six months. A more comprehensive programme for the UK could be developed in the future dependant on the findings from this trial.
So, how does it work? Customers will need to set up an account to join the BURT reusable cup scheme by scanning a QR code displayed in one of the 14 participating stores.
A one-off £5 payment is required to procure the reusable cup, and then customers can scan the QR code on the base of it which links the cup to the customer’s account, via blockchain technology.
Consumers can return the cup to a participating Costa Coffee store at a time that suits them, where it will be scanned back in by the team, delinked from their account, and machine-washed in store, ready for the next BURT customer. Customers will be given a fresh BURT cup with each new order.
Digital agency, Austella, is supporting the reusable cup scheme via its blockchain-powered Valari platform. The aim is to reduce the number of single-use cups used by Costa but also make it easier for customers who may have forgotten their reusable cups to still be able to pick up their purchase without waste.
Neil Lake, managing director for Costa Coffee UK & Ireland, 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.
“It will also help us understand more about how the UK high street can lead the way in ensuring the long-term environmental sustainability of our planet.”
This announcement comes as Costa prepares to participate in a broader initiative this autumn, from Keep Scotland Beautiful. Alongside other key coffee retailers, and in partnership with Glasgow City Council, the programme is focused on increasing reuse and recycling rates in stores.
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.”
Participating BURT stores
- Buchanan Galleries
- Glasgow Central
- Royal Exchange Square
- Glasgow Bothwell Street
- Glasgow St Enochs
- Glasgow St Vincent Street
- Glasgow Sauchiehall
- Glasgow George House
- Glasgow Pacific Quay (currently closed)
- Next Braehead
- Glasgow Partick Station (currently closed)
- Coatbridge Caldeen Road DT
- Glasgow Clarkston
[Image credit: Costa Coffee]