Making reuse a reality
September 4, 2023 | Written by Rachel Warren
The re-universe returns platform makes it easy for people to return items for reuse or recycling, delivering a frictionless user journey and providing transparency, data and insights for industry.
enjoy, scan, return
Following the successful pilot, Blenheim are rolling out returnable cups across the whole visitor attraction this summer.
Visitors to Blenheim Palace pay a £2.00 deposit on a returnable cup when they purchase a hot drink and get their money refunded back into their nominated bank account when they return the cup for reuse. Visitors can also donate to charity or have a floating deposit to use again and again.
We like to make things easy, so there’s no need to download (yet another) app or cause friction by asking the user to register before purchase. Baristas also don’t have to scan cups out.
The re-universe platform opens automatically when the visitor is ready to return the cup, by scanning the unique QR code on the cup or return point.
Each cup is uniquely identified by GS1 QR codes and supported with UHF-RFID, which enables Blenheim to manage their cup inventory with accurate data including return and reuse rates, washing status and location inventory. RFID tech also helps remove unnecessary friction for the consumer.
We’ve collaborated with Circular&Co. on this groundbreaking project. Their returnable cups are tested for at least 1,000 uses, the cups are ‘real world’ recyclable at end of life. Using this returnable cup just three times means it is carbon negative vs single use.
Saving carbon – delivering insights – commercially viable
Every year the scheme at Blenheim Palace will save approximately 32 tonnes of carbon, eliminating 400,000 single-use cups from the visitor attraction through a mix of ceramic cups and returnable cups.
The scheme saves carbon, eliminates single use cups, delivers data and insights and is also commercially viable.
“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, Blenheim Palace
“Avery Dennison’s RFID technology, as used by re-universe, helps precisely manage cup inventory with real-time visibility into usage, washing status and availability. A quick scan replaces manual counting and also removes unnecessary steps for the consumer by streamlining the return process.”
Peter Jackson – Avery Dennison
“The investment re-universe have made is very exciting, they are both creative and push boundaries with very innovative ideas. The use of our standards will undoubtedly future proof their customers and we are delighted to be working with them to reduce our collective dependency on single use plastic packaging.”
Jason Hale, head of product, GS1 UK
If you’d like to find out more or chat to us about a potential project please email