Costa Coffee launches BURT – a blockchain-based reusable cup program

British coffeehouse chain Costa Coffee announced yesterday (September 29) the launch of a new blockchain-compatible reusable cup loan program. The project is to be tested in 14 of its stores in Glasgow and is expected to last six months.

The program 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-time payment of £ 5 and sign up for a digital account where they can scan and monitor reusable stainless steel cups borrowed from stores, with the technology linking their account to the cup using the blockchain. Once complete, customers can return the mug to any participating store for it to be deep cleaned and re-rotated for others to use. In addition to monitoring the placement of the cups, the technician will also calculate the environmental footprint of reusing the cups.

The program aims to encourage consumers to participate in container reuse and to make it easier for those who may have forgotten their own cups at home.

“We are delighted to be the first national coffee company to offer a solution like BURT, to further drive the adoption of reusable cups in our stores,” said Neil Lake, Managing Director of Costa Coffee UK & Ireland.

“In addition to our new Costa Coffee Club offer of one free drink for every four drinks purchased in a reusable cup, we hope this trial will show another way forward to help reduce waste while improving the customer experience. “

If successful, the project will be rolled out to more UK stores on a trial basis, with customer feedback being encouraged to help streamline the initiative. In addition to BURT, the coffee giant will participate this fall in the Keep Scotland Beautiful initiative, set up to encourage consumers to engage in reuse programs and improve in-store circularity.

Barry Fisher, CEO of Keep Scotland Beautiful, said: “Efficient reuse solutions are key to reducing waste, changing the way we consume and tackling the climate emergency. As the city prepares to host COP26, we look forward to supporting Costa in this initiative and intensifying consumer engagement with them and other retailers, working to facilitate the necessary transition to more sustainable consumption.


About Matthew Berkey

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