Coffee has a cup problem, and it’s one without an easy fix. There have been many a whole host of ventures trying to figure out an easy and eco-conscious way of handling the millions upon millions of to-go coffee cups that get used—and often find their way to a landfill—by cafes each year. There have been cup swaps, eco-friendly single-serve options using terra cotta or even an edible option, and a whole host of reusable models, all to varying levels of success.

It ultimately comes down to buy-in. Can you make the process easy enough to get customers to adopt on a broader scale? A new company out of Essex in the United Kingdom is relying on technology and a lower level of buy-in as a means of keeping cups in a reusable eco-system. Delete Cups is using RFID chips to easily track cups and return deposits to customers.

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As reported by Packaging Gateway, Delete Cups was founded by Alastair Hood, owner of Roo Coffee, a franchisable sustainability-minded coffee shop in the UK. The brand has already raised £350,000 from angel investors. Each Delete cup comes equipped with an RFID chip that gets scanned by a barista and linked with a transaction at the point of sale. A small cup deposit fee is added to the total charge, which then gets automatically credited back onto the card used for the transaction once the cup is returned to a collection point.

What Delete has over other reusable cup programs, per Packaging Gateway, is ease of use. “With current re-use schemes, customers must typically download an app, register their details, pay a deposit on the cup then apply online to reclaim their money once they have returned it, or queue in-store.” But with Delete Cups, there is no need to create an account or give any additional personal information.

Delete Cups is currently being at two of Hood’s pop-up cafes, and he “is reportedly in talks with other potential users in the UK and Europe.”

This is not the first program to use RFID chips in reusable cups. Starbucks and McDonalds rolled out a trial program in 2020. A company called CauliCup used QR codes to similar ends in 2022. But Delete Cups does appear to require less overall involvement from the customer, which could make their adoption a little easier. It does still require folks to return the cup to a designated area or lose their deposit, and that may still rub some folks the wrong way. Still, the options are getting easier and easier and requiring less and less of the customers. It’s a step in the right direction.

Zac Cadwalader is the managing editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.