Seeing an impressive 94% return rate

The IWMA (Irish Waste Management Association) in conjunction with Panda and Reward4Waste, conducted a trial to prove the concept of a Digital Deposit Return Scheme (Digital DRS) using participants from Panda’s household waste collection in Dublin. The trial took place in July / August 2021 for 4 weeks.

This was a world-first pilot, testing citizen engagement and return rates for digital deposit and return technology.

The key differences with this trial in comparison to others is customers paid a deposit on the items purchased and redeemed the deposit when they placed the containers in their recycling bin at home. The trial also tracked the containers from the point of purchase, consumer, collector, and arrival at a sorting facility.

The goal of the trial was to prove that when using Digital DRS, the percentage return of packaging in the system is comparable to that achieved by the ‘return to retail’ conventional deposit return schemes (DRS) that uses a combination of reverse vending machines (RVM) and manual take-back.

The trial demonstrated a 94% return rate with 700 containers delivered to customers and 655 deposited in recycling bins using the Reward4Waste App.

How does the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) work?

  • Deposit Return Schemes are government led, with the aim to reduce litter by increasing recycling.
  • They work by adding a deposit on the price of drinks sold in plastic and glass bottles and cans, which the shopper pays at point of purchase and gets back once they’ve returned that container for recycling
  • Traditional models ask citizens to return their drinks containers back to store to get their refund, using a Reverse Vending Machine

How does Reward4Waste Digital DRS work?

  • Return points / recycling bins are given a unique code, such as a QR Code, 2D matrix code, or similar
  • Drinks containers also have a unique code such as a QR code, 2D matrix code, or similar
  • Deposits are paid on the drinks containers at point of purchase (it’s included in the price of the drink)
  • Deposits are refunded at point of recycle, with the deposit placed immediately in the users wallet within the app
  • Users simply scan the return point (whether that be a home kerbside box, a smart on-the-go bin or an RVM), scan their drinks container and the recycle is registered

Why Digital DRS?

  • We believe Deposit Return Schemes don’t need to be a chore for citizens
  • Research shows people don’t want to take their drinks bottles back to store to get their refund – this is due to many reasons and includes inconvenience such as lack of time, more online shopping and lack of mobility
  • Reward4Waste makes recycling easy – and independent research backs this up, with over 90% of respondents saying Reward4Waste was easy/very easy to use in our first validation trial in Whitehead, Northern Ireland with Bryson Recycling and MEA Borough Council, with proud support from Britvic Ireland, PepsiCo and Encirc, which took place in 2020/2021. To find out more about our trial in Whitehead click here

Read the full article below…

For more information on Reward4Waste or for an interview with the team, do please get in touch…

Tony McGurk talks to MRW

We were delighted to be asked to feature in Materials Recycling World by Andrea Lockerbie.

Tony chats to Andrea about the benefits of a Digital DRS and how Reward4Waste is best set to tackle a Digital DRS, working alongside existing waste infrastructure.

In this interview, Tony explains how Reward4Waste

  • Changes consumer behaviour through rewarding people for good recycling behaviour
  • Tracks and traces provenance of individual packaging through the circular economy
  • Can be used across all materials, plastic, glass, tin and textiles
  • Our proven trial in Whitehead NI shows Reward4Waste is inclusive of all demographics
  • Was created to make a positive difference to the waste crisis

Read the full article below…

For more information on Reward4Waste or for an interview with the team, do please get in touch…

Due to such a positive response to our Reward4Waste trial in Whitehead N.I., we are pleased to announce that the Reward4Waste trial has been extended until the end of January 2021!

That means that if you live in Whitehead, you can get rewarded for your recycling until January 31st, and you can donate or redeem your collected points until February 14th.

Reward4Waste – Trial Mechanics

The below information highlights the trial mechanics in Whitehead, Northern Ireland, run in collaboration with Bryson Recycling and Mid and East Antrim Borough Council and proud support from Britvic NI, PepsiCo and Encirc.

NB: Some of the trial mechanics would be enhanced and optimised at full roll out or larger trial, such as the use of blockchain technology and coding at point of manufacture. Please talk to us to find out more…

2000 Households in Whitehead were asked to take part in the Reward4Waste trial, which ran for 4 months, from 30th September 2020 through to January 31st 2021

Selected items of single-use packaging including plastic drinks bottles, plastic milk bottles, soft drinks cans and wine bottles have a uniquely coded sticker placed on them by staff at Whitehead SPAR before they are put on the shelves for sale.

Every household was sent an education pack, inviting them to take part and including stickers with unique ID codes to place on their household recycling boxes (glass / other)

Those that want to take part, simply download and use the Reward4Waste app, they are verified by email and postcode.

To gain Reward Points via the app, users scan the bin sticker and then scan the code on their purchased (and consumed) packaging. Once recycled the app rewards them through SPAR vouchers or allows them to donate their Reward Points to one of four local charities.

Users can recycle at home using their existing recycling boxes or on-the-go, when they are out and about, by using recycling bins. Due to the unique code, users cannot recycle the same product twice, thus eliminating fraud.

Residents are rewarded 10 or 20 Reward Points every time they recycle using the Reward4Waste app, with 100 points being worth £1.

The app also educates users on good recycling behaviour, reducing confusion when it comes to which items can be recycled.

Reward4Waste works with existing waste infrastructure, this means that during normal kerbside collections, Bryson Recycling scans the tagged recycling boxes and the items are recycled as normal.

The trial was promoted in Whitehead through a door-knocking campaign, leaflet drops and a marketing campaign which featured local residents.

The trial app gives data on who has recycled what item, when and where.

Visit our website to view the full suite of Reward4Waste benefits

For more information on Reward4Waste do please get in touch…

This is the future for all returnable packaging

The consumer journey

Front end simplicity – back end intelligence. No more opaque provenance. No more confused citizens.

The journey may differ by project, but all share a common goal, to make it easy for people to return items for reuse or recycling. Reducing waste and keep valuable items in the circular economy for longer.


1. Get your phone
2. Scan the code
3. Be engaged
4. Return item
5. Get deposit / rewards

Digital Intelligence

We’ve created a platform that you can depend on. Using unique coding, green blockchain and AI to prevent fraud, bring transparency and manage provenance.

Digital <strong>Intelligence</strong>

The Blog

We are seeing more people than ever relying on connected tech to help them manage almost every aspect of daily life, with the last 12 months seeing remarkable growth when it comes to digital usage – the last 12 months have brought about a decade’s worth of behavioural change

The <strong>Blog</strong>

Rich data

The Reward4Waste app makes recycling easy – incentivising and rewarding people for good recycling behaviour. The app captures any uniquely coded item and registers its recycle through the uniquely coded bin or return point. 

Rich <strong>data</strong>

Making recycling easy

The Reward4Waste app makes recycling easy – incentivising and rewarding people for good recycling behaviour. The app captures any uniquely coded item and registers its recycle through the uniquely coded bin or return point. 

Making recycling <strong>easy</strong>

The Team

Reward4Waste is created by a team with expertise in technology and brands, our team is growing to reflect the need for a trusted platform that enables circularity through unique coding which inspires people to do the right thing.

The <strong>Team</strong>



We are known as pioneers in digital returns, having run 2 world-first Digital DRS projects in 2020/2021 and in 2022 we collaborated with Danone on an evian project at Wimbledon, reaching over 500,00 visitors. Our cup reuse project can be found at Blenheim Palace and is due to roll out this summer 2023.

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 with smarter solutions

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

With billions of single use coffee cups ending up UK in landfill every year, it’s encouraging to see the rise in returnable and reusable cup schemes.

There really is no excuse for single use – but for mass engagement and take-up reuse has to be easy and frictionless.

So what’s the answer?

We believe it is re-universe. Our pioneering digital returns platform drives behavioural change and brings rich data and insights.

Tried and tested at Blenheim Palace in collaboration with Circular&Co. and rolling out across the summer, over 95% of users have said the platform is easy/very easy to use.

If you are looking for a return-for-reuse cup scheme that offers the below benefits (and more!) then get in touch…

😁 Consumer benefits
👍 No need to download an app
👍 No need to register bank details before use
👍 Return simply through tech-enabled returns
👍 Get deposit back into nominated bank account with minimal / no bank charges – quickly, easily, securely
👍 Donate to charity or have a floating deposit that can be used again and again

😁 Brand benefits
👍 Behavioural change insights to drive returns
👍 Validation of returns to reduce fraud
👍 Rich data and insights
👍 Cup-to-cup traceability
👍 Measurable scheme
👍 Multi-lingual and multi-brand
👍 Future-proofed for scaleability

Want to find out more?
Drop us an email 👉
We’d love to hear from you.

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 to be working with Blenheim Palace to eradicate single use, starting with cups, using our pioneering digital returnable cup scheme this summer, in collaboration with Circular&Co.

We couldn’t be prouder!

“We are rolling out a digital return-for-reuse cup scheme, eradicating single-use cups across Blenheim Palace. This important initiative eradicates single-use cups across Blenheim and reflects our commitment to becoming carbon neutral on scopes 1-3 of the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) protocol by 2027.

Visitors to Blenheim will be offered the choice of a ceramic or returnable cup when they purchase a hot drink. They will pay a deposit which they will get back when they return the cup for reuse.

Using pioneering digital technology from re-universe, there is no need to download an app or register before use. This was important to us because we want our visitors to be able to buy a coffee quickly and easily – without adding friction to their visit. When the cup is returned visitors are offered multiple options, including the ability to get their refund back digitally, donate to charity or other green initiatives.

We’ve been working with re-universe and Circular&Co. on this groundbreaking project for many months, which included running a pilot and learning and optimising in readiness for full rollout this summer.

We look forward to sharing lessons learnt and best practices to help other like-minded organisations jump on board and eradicate single use.”

David Green – Head of Innovation

re-universe technology is the cornerstone of many recycling and reuse projects that you may already be involved in! Please look at our website for more information.

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 GS1 global standards unique codes, or serialisation, which are placed on each individual item (either on the physical product or a receipt). We also use RFID technology for track and trace benefits.

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 GS1 partners.

Contact us to improve
your circularity

We can help you achieve your DRS, EPR & sustainability targets.

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

Contact us today to find out more