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re-universe: powering pioneering reuse and recycling initiatives

How re-universe's ground-breaking digital reuse pilot at Blenheim Palace provides a blueprint for the future of returnable containers.

The massive environmental impact caused by our throw-away culture poses a grave threat to the health of our planet.

By volume, drinks containers account for 75 per cent of the litter found on UK streets. Although many of these items are fully recyclable, current recycling rates show that there is still much to be done if we are to create a future where waste is minimised, resources are utilised efficiently, and our planet is safeguarded for generations to come.

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That is why we have been working with our partners at re-universe, a pioneering green-tech company that accelerates change through disruptive technology.

The re-universe returns platform makes it easy for people to return items for reuse or recycling through a frictionless user journey that also provides transparency, data and insights for industry.

With re-universe’s expertise and forward-thinking approach, they have the ability to make a significant and lasting impact in the drive for sustainability. Their projects include world first digital DRS pilots in Whitehead and Dublin, both of which saw impressive community engagement and return rates of 94%.

Blenheim Palace

In 2022, re-universe launched a ground-breaking digital reuse pilot at Blenheim Palace to assess how their solution could eradicate single use, drive impact and encourage engagement through a returnable cup system.

With over 500,000 hot drinks sold each year, 400,000 of which are served in take-away disposable cups, tackling the environmental impact of single use cups represented a key challenge in meeting Blenheim Palace’s sustainability and circularity ambitions.

By placing unique GS1 powered QR codes on specially designed cups and return points, re-universe were able to connect individual cups to each user, engaging and incentivising them to return their cup for reuse.

There was no deposit and visitors were rewarded for returning their cups with entry into free prize draw. Carefully designed to present as few barriers as possible, the user journey was simple, consisting of just three intuitive steps using consumer-facing technology that most visitors were already familiar with.

Read the full case study

Find out more about this pioneering trial, how it worked, the benefits realised, and how it has provided a blueprint for the future of returnable containers.


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