Costa Coffee Kicks Off Blockchain-Based Reusable Cup Scheme

NOV 15, 2021

The day before International Coffee Day, on September 30, Costa Coffee launched a blockchain-powered reusable cup scheme, dubbed BURT, which aims to encourage more sustainable behaviors among consumers.

BURT – (Borrow, Use, Reuse, Take Back) – launched in 14 stores across Glasgow, Scotland, and will last until March 2022.

The British coffeehouse chain will use the trial to gain feedback from customers and study their uptake and behavior towards reusable cups. These findings will then be used to optimize and create a scheme that will roll out across the UK in phases.

Costa Coffee Kicks Off Blockchain-Based Reusable Cup Scheme
(Credit: Shutterstock)

How Does BURT Work?

Customers who want to participate in the trial must first set up an account to join BURT by scanning a QR code displayed in one of the 14 participating locations. Next, customers make a never-to-be-repeated £5 payment to join the scheme. Then, they can quickly scan the QR code on a BURT cup, linking the cup to the customer’s account via blockchain technology. Finally, they can pay at the check-out as they usually would.

After customers enjoy their coffee, they can return the cup at any participating Costa Coffee store, where it will be scanned back in, delinked from their account, and hygienically machine-washed, ready for the next happy customer. Customers will receive a new BURT cup with each new order.

Costa Coffee Kicks Off Blockchain-Based Reusable Cup Scheme
(Credit: Costa Coffee)

Neil Lake, Managing Director of Costa Coffee United Kingdom and Ireland, commented:

Our customers believe passionately in being able to make choices that help them do their bit to protect the environment. Our priority at Costa Coffee is to provide convenient, effective solutions while continuing to serve great-tasting, perfectly crafted coffee. We are excited to be the first national coffee company to be offering a solution like BURT, to further incentivize the uptake of reusable cups in our stores.

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 while 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.

Blockchain Platform

The scheme is being run in partnership with the Wokingham-based digital agency, Austella on its blockchain-powered Valari platform. The trial is designed to reduce single-use cups and make it easier for customers to be eco-conscious, even if they have forgotten their reusable cups. This way, they can still pick up their to-go coffee without waste. The system is also ideal for those preferring not to carry their own cup around every single day.

(Credit: Costa Coffee)

Mark Cundle, the CEO of Austella, said:

Austella is delighted to be working with Costa Coffee to launch the trial of BURT and believes passionately in the role blockchain technology can play in helping businesses reduce their environmental impact and make it easier for consumers to make sustainable choices.

One quick scan of a QR code and Costa customers will be able to enjoy their favorite coffee in a reusable cup, before dropping it back for the next customer to use, reducing single-use waste.

High-Quality Cups

The BURT cups are made from high-quality stainless steel, making them durable, long-lasting, and easy to clean in Costa’s in-store dishwashers. They can hold 8oz, 12oz, and 16oz drinks. As a bonus, BURT cups also fit with Costa Express machines, allowing customers to enjoy perfectly crafted Costa coffee wherever they are, guilt-free.

Costa Coffee Kicks Off Blockchain-Based Reusable Cup Scheme
(Credit: Costa Coffee)

Broader Initiative

Barry Fisher, the CEO of Keep Scotland Beautiful, commented:

Glasgow has been the focal point for a raft of work to address cup waste via our Cup Movement in Glasgow campaign, so we are delighted to see this innovative trial taking place in the city. Effective reuse solutions are essential to reducing waste, changing the way we consume, and addressing the climate emergency.

Costa Coffee is also participating in a broader initiative to increase reuse and recycling rates in-store, in partnership with Glasgow City Council, Keep Scotland Beautiful, and other key coffee retailers.