The Returnable Cup System

Something’s brewing!

Our showcase pilot at Blenheim Palace is over… watch this space for exciting news on our full roll out!

The re-universe digital platform provides a deposit refund option,  penalty option, rewards and loyalty and donate to charity – all with maximum impact and minimal hassle.

Eradicating single use

Blenheim Palace is a world-class visitor attraction and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and we are proud to partner with them on the Digital Returnable Cup System.

Operating as a Deposit Refund scheme, our flexible digital platform helps eradicate single use cups at Blenheim.

Returnable cups from Circular&Co.

Making an impact

“We believe climate change is the single biggest threat to Blenheim’s long-term survival and we’re committed to doing all we can to reduce and mitigate its impacts and help safeguard this World Heritage Site and its resources for future generations.

We serve over 400,000 hot drinks at Blenheim each year, so this new scheme has the potential to make a big impact.

As well as incentivising people to return their used cups, the initiative also helps us to analyse behaviour and better manage cup collection”

David Green – Head of Innovation

Digital Returnable Cup System

“We are delighted to be working with Blenheim Palace to help reduce single use cups.

The Digital Returnable Cup System uses pioneering technology to engage and incentivise visitors to return their cups for reuse – again and again and again…

By giving each cup a unique digital identity, we will measure the return of cups and also relate this to behavioural insights and impact.”

Rachel Warren – Marketing Director


We are collaborating with Circular&Co who are creators of the Returnable Cup and other circular products. The returnable cup is designed to last at least 5 years and is 100% recyclable at end of life.

The returnable cup lasts over 500 wash cycles, and is 100% recyclable up to 6 times, meaning no new material is required for 9 years.

“After just 2 uses, the CO2 emission of the Returnable Circular Cup are offset versus a single-use alternative. This means that huge amounts of CO2 never reaches our atmosphere”


Digital intelligence

Bringing the UK’s first digital cup system to Blenheim Palace. Each cup has a unique QR code which, when scanned, automatically opens a returnable web-platform, entering the user into a prize draw when the cup is returned.

Our system can provide flexible incentives and rewards including a deposit and return scheme, all created to engage and incentivise your audience.

Delivering cup-to-cup traceability with a platform that allows Blenheim to delve into cup circularity, visitor engagement and project impact.



The most striking learnings were the need for a deposit refund model or DRS. Despite the rewards offered, without a deposit, users were not incentivised enough to return the cup. A/B testing helped inform the right model (DRS vs. Penalty charge model) with users preferring the DRS model due to ease of use.

Branded vs. non branded cup
The Blenheim returnable cup was beautifully branded which meant they were often viewed as collectable and were much more likely to be taken home as souvenirs.

Marketing and comms
Impactful comms to strongly educate and engage to drive long term systemic behavioural change is essential.

The learnings gained from the pilot have informed the full estate roll out this Summer 2023



Our technology is also ready to roll out for digital recycling or digital re-use. We are known as pioneers in digital recycling, having run 2 world-first Digital DRS projects in 2020/2021 and a recent evian project at Wimbledon reaching over 500,00 visitors. Our cup reuse project can be found at Blenheim Palace.

Please get in touch and we can chat through how re-universe can work in your organisation.

1. Transforming consumer behaviour around reuse and recycling – the app incentivises and rewards consumers for good behaviour, whilst having the ability to bring transparency and traceability to the supply chain

2. Bringing incremental economic value through the recycled and re-used items – a true circular economy

3. Immutable, secure and auditable – tracking packaging end to end

4. Capturing data and insights over time to understand consumer behaviour

5. Depending on the scheme, re-universe can work within existing waste management and infrastucture – reducing costs and carbon footprint

6. re-universe offers a real chance to accelerate change and make a positive difference

7. re-universe brings consumer ease to reuse and recycling

All of our live projects can be found on our website, we are working on a number of projects yet to appear so watch this space!

If you would like to talk to us about a potential collaboration please get in touch at

We are not currently raising funds through external funding rounds.

However, we are always interested in talking to potential investors, particularly those who can bring relevant knowledge and experience.

If you are interested in potentially investing in us then please contact us by emailing

There is a growing global awareness of the waste crisis; governments across the globe are under pressure to take action.

The UN Global Partnership on Marine Litter has an action plan put forward by the G7 and G20 and a resolution on marine litter and microplastics was adopted at the United Nations Environment Assembly.

The EU has set out its vision for Europe’s new plastics economy EU Member States will be obliged to reach a 90% collection rate for disposable plastic drink bottles by 2025. By 2030 all plastics packaging placed on the EU market will be recyclable or easily recycled. An EU target is in place for recycling 65% of municipal waste by 2030 and the EU has issued a directive requiring every soft drink producer to use at least 25% recycling by 2025.

Plans are in place to introduce a DRS scheme in England, Wales and Northern Ireland by 2023 with Scotland the first to implement within the UK.

Ambitious legislative targets are being put in place; many countries will struggle to meet targets and new processes and levers need to be developed to tackle the practicality of waste management and the inertia in behavioural change.

We believe radically improving reuse and recycling is the cornerstone to turning the plastic tide. It is clear that collection, sorting and reprocessing need to improve, but in parallel having a circular system that engages and changes consumers behaviour through incentivisation is critical to the success of any solution.

Deposit return schemes (DRS) are becoming more and more common all around the world. When you purchase a drink in a plastic bottle (in some cases glass) you’ll be charged a small deposit at point of purchase. When you return the bottle for recycling, you will receive your deposit back.

How your deposit is returned to you is dependent on how the country runs their DRS. In some nations, you’ll need to return the bottle to a Reverse Vending Machine (RVM) at a superstore or other retail location. In other countries, the bottle will need to be returned to a designated recycling point (like a council run tip or waste management site). Regardless of the location, the deposit is always able to be claimed back.

The UK government has announced a DRS will be introduced in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2024, with Scotland looking to introduce a DRS earlier.

re-universe have developed a system where deposits for beverage containers will be returned through an app that gives an instant reward or loyalty card style collection of points dependent on how the consumer wishes to be rewarded for recycling. This is known as Digital DRS and we are known in the industry as the Digital DRS pioneers.

We have run 2 World-first projects in Northern Ireland and Dublin and look forward to running more Digital DRS projects in the future.

We are really excited about the potential of re-universe, and are currently working with key stakeholders and interested parties to help bring this idea to life across the UK and beyond. Please do contact at if you would like to talk to us about how re-universe could benefit your business.

re-universe technology is the cornerstone of many recycling and reuse projects that you may already be involved in!

Global smartphone ownership grows daily. According to recent research, in the UK 95% of all households in the UK own a mobile phone, with 78% of those using a smart phone and this number is growing fast.

Having an app based solution makes re-universe easy and convenient to use, however, for those without a smart phone, we have a home scan option.

re-universe uses unique codes, or serialisation, which are placed on each individual item (either on the physical product or a receipt).

Digitisation is without doubt the future of a true circular economy, allowing for traceability of waste, immutability, flexibility, rich insights and data – for cradle to grave accountability.

We are code agnostic – we can either create the unique codes for you, or work with your unique codes. We are GS1 partners.

Contact us to find out more

If you are a business and want to find out more about our digital cup system, fill out the form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.