Environmental consultancy Eunomia is sponsoring and running the first ever conference coffee cup deposit refund scheme (DRS) on at this September’s RWM (Resource and Waste Management Conference) held at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC), Birmingham.
Launched in partnership with the NEC’s catering arm, Amadeus, under the scheme all food and beverage retailers at the venue have agreed to offer a discount – generally 25p – to all attendees with a reusable cup during the conference.
Under the Eunomia Zero Waste Cup scheme, all conference attendees will be offered a reusable cup in exchange for a £1 deposit so they can benefit from discounted hot drinks throughout the event. When they no longer need it, they can return the cup and reclaim the deposit – or if they prefer, they can keep the cup and use it again and again. Attendees who bring their own reusable cup can also benefit from the discounted drinks.
Dominic Hogg, Chairman of Eunomia Resesarch & Consulting Ltd said: “The goal of the scheme is to avoid, as far as possible, any single-use cups being used during the RWM conference this year. We’re providing a reusable cup for everyone to make this easy for attendees. We’d like to build on the work Amadeus are already doing to reduce waste at the NEC, by demonstrating how a closed loop coffee cup system can work at conferences, negating the need for single-use cups.”
Eunomia, a market-leader in DRS design, has carried out a body of research into the different features and impacts of DRSs, primarily in Europe and North America. There is renewed interest in DRSs as a means of reducing waste, boosting recycling and deterring litter. Many countries already have them for beverage containers, with Defra and the Scottish Government announcing their intentions to introduce a DRS for beverage packaging in the UK in the near future.
“DRS is also an exciting opportunity for us that’ll mean up to 95% of plastic is recycled when cups reach the end of their life – further reducing other environmental impacts, such as marine pollution, to virtually zero.”
DRSs are also increasingly seen at major events, including the recent World Cup and the Rio Olympics. Now the Zero Waste Cup scheme is bringing a DRS to the NEC, appropriately enough as part of the UK’s largest recycling and waste management exhibition and conference. The aim of the scheme is to prevent waste and carbon emissions and to demonstrate to the conference industry that single-use cups – and other wasteful practices – could be phased out.
The Zero Waste Cups are supplied by Greentech start-up Bockatech in partnership with Borealis – a leading provider of innovative solutions in the fields of polyolefins, base chemicals and fertilizers. The cups feature Bockatech’s new EcoCore™ technology – that reduces the material and energy needed to create insulated super-rigid reusable packaging – and easy to recycle polypropylene from Borealis.
Chris Bocking, CEO at Bockatech, comments: “Reuse makes more environmental sense when it comes to takeaway cups. If you use a low-cost cup made with our EcoCore™ technology – in place of a standard paper or compostable cup – you cut the packaging CO2 greenhouse gas needed for your morning coffee by 94% over the course a year.
“DRS is also an exciting opportunity for us that’ll mean up to 95% of plastic is recycled when cups reach the end of their life – further reducing other environmental impacts, such as marine pollution, to virtually zero.
“We’re making it easy for consumers to get into eco-friendly reuse and return habits. Our technology is creating sustainable packaging that’s multi-use, high performance and cost-neutral for everything – from cups for hot drinks at coffee shops, to tubs for food at the supermarket delicatessen and pots for ice cream as well as noodles.”
The Eunomia team will be running the Zero Waste Cup scheme at stand 4F30 in Hall 4 in the NEC and Dr Chris Sherrington Head of Environmental Policy and Economics and Chairman of Eunomia Dominic Hogg will both be presenting on deposits during the show.