Blenheim Palace has introduced a digital returnable cups system at all of its catering outlets.

The scheme invites visitors to enjoy hot beverages in returnable cups that require a £2 deposit, aiming to eliminate single-use cups entirely from the estate.

David Green, head of innovation at Blenheim Palace, said: "We serve 400,000 hot drinks every single year and have the ambition of being carbon neutral by 2027 so the introduction of our returnable cup scheme is a major step towards that goal.

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"The main benefit of the scheme is that we expect to eradicate 30 tonnes of carbon every single year as a result."

An initial pilot without a deposit led to cups going missing, reducing the scheme's effectiveness.

Upon adding a deposit fee, visitors have shown greater responsibility over their waste.

The cups are cleaned on-site after being returned at multiple designated points, refunded into the visitor’s digital wallet.

All cups can be traced using Radio Frequency Identification technology.

The scheme has been delivered in collaboration with Circular&Co and re-universe.

Adam Trethewy, commercial lead at Circular&Co., said "The launch of the returnable cup scheme at Blenheim Palace is a major step forward for the adoption of circular economy principles in the UK."

Rachel Warren, CEO of re-universe, added: "This project shines a light on how a collaborative effort creates meaningful results."