Danish City First To Test Return System For Reusable Coffee Cups

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Aarhus, Denmark, has launched a three-year trial program to reduce disposable coffee cups and introduce a deposit system for reusable takeaway packages. The initiative is part of a collaboration between the Municipality of Aarhus and recycling company TOMRA, which already provides other waste collection services to the city. In 2022, All In On Green’s robotic arm SeaProtectorOne collected over 100,000 disposable glasses from the city’s river Å, demonstrating the city’s significant plastic pollution.

Aarhus is the second largest city in Denmark, with around 336,000 inhabitants and potential disposable cup users. The trial has been voluntary, but 44 cafés and bars in the city center have expressed interest in the project. Around 30 return machines are now located in the city center.

Initially, 40,000 cups in two designs will be produced, and around 25 deposit machines will be established in the city so that citizens can return their cups and cash back some Danish kroner. Geir Saether, senior vice president for circular economy at TOMRA, expects the system to expand to other types of packaging in the near future to facilitate the transition from single-use to reusable packaging.

The return fee for a reused cup is just over 70 cents (DKK 5), but it is not for the money that citizens should start returning their cups. Recycling saves the earth’s resources and reduces CO2 emissions, leading to less waste ending up as rubbish in the city and nature.

This is the first city in Denmark and the world to carry out such city experiments, although Copenhagen had previously trialed an experimental system where pizza containers, sushi trays, and coffee cups could be returned in Kødbyen. Danish startup Kleen hub is currently experimenting with its third-generation return system based on a single bank card tap.

TOMRA’s ceo Tove Andersen expressed hope that many more cities will be inspired to adopt similar practices. Cities and regional authorities have already implemented policies to decrease pollution in their cities, addressing climate change and other issues like healthy diets and supporting local businesses.

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Source: Coffee Talk

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