Why is Aarhus testing reusable takeaway packaging?

Aarhus Municipality recognizes its role in curbing litter and preserving a clean cityscape. Addressing the rising demand for a unified reusable packaging system among businesses and residents, the municipality has launched an experiment. This initiative aims to simplify eco-conscious choices for companies and Aarhusianers.

Why is this system the first of its kind in the world?

The Rotake Reuseable system stands out as the world’s pioneering open urban space solution for reusable takeaway packaging. This innovative system transcends boundaries, offering compatibility across restaurants, cafés, and all food takeaway services, catering to both Aarhus citizens and visitors alike.

What are the cups made of?

The cups are made from PP, known as polypropylene. This durable plastic is designed for prolonged use and can withstand repeated washing. Once the cups reach the end of their usable life or cannot be reused for other reasons, the material can be recycled.

How can plastic cups be better than disposable cardboard cups?

Disposable cardboard cups, containing both cardboard and a plastic wrap (PLA liner), are very hard to recycle, hence normally these are incinerated. Opting for a reusable plastic cup can cut CO2 emissions by more than 70% compared to disposables (Eunomia 2023). In addition to that, reusable packaging with a return incentive solves a major littering problem.

How many times does the cup need to be reused before it is more environmentally friendly than a disposable cup?

To reduce the Green House Gas (GHG) emissions from packaging, a disposable cup, the reusable plastic cup in this system needs to be reused a minimum of six times. (Eunomia 2023). Right from its first use, reusing the cup will help to reduce litter.

How many times can a cup be reused?

With proper care, a plastic cup can be reused hundreds of times, making it a sustainable and long-lasting option.

How does the system work? How do I get my deposit back?

When ordering your to-go drink, opt for the reusable cup available at your favorite shop by paying an additional 5 kr. deposit. Once you’ve finished your drink, simply locate the nearest reuse collection point within the city. Once you are there, simply tap your debit/credit card, Apple/Google Watch, or phone to return the cup via the designated machine. The 5 kr. deposit per cup will be refunded to your bank account.

How much water do you use to clean the cups?

Washing a reusable cup requires approximately 50 ml of water/cup, whereas the production of a disposable cardboard cup demands around 250 ml of water.

How much CO2 do you use to collect and bring the cups?

Taking the whole reuse value chain into consideration, opting for a reusable plastic cup can cut CO2 emissions by more than 70% compared to disposables (Eunomia 2023) In addition to that, to reduce CO2 emissions, the cups are collected and delivered using electric cars and bicycles.

How do you make sure the cups are completely clean?

The Rotake Reuseable system includes a professional hygienization service that rigorously sanitizes the packaging, meeting the stringent standards set by relevant food and safety authorities.

Where can I choose a Rotake Reuseable cup?

Here is a map highlighting locations where you can select your preferred cup: Map

Where can I return my cup?

Here is a map displaying the locations of reuse collection points in Aarhus city center: Map

What’s the estimated timeframe for receiving my deposit refund?

Typically, it takes up to 2 business days for the deposit value to be available in the bank account, though in some cases, the refund may process even quicker.

Why am I unable to return my Rotake Reuseable cup at the deposit machine in my local supermarket or deposit cans and bottles at a reuse collection point?

Unfortunately, this isn’t feasible currently because these actions fall under two distinct return systems. The deposit return system for cans and bottles has specific limitations on acceptable packaging, and to-go or takeaway packaging cannot be processed within the system at present.

Why am I unable to return my cup at the nearest cafe?

Unfortunately, consumers cannot return their used Rotake Reuseable cups to their nearest cafes due to several reasons:

  • The cups must undergo proper sanitation as per the strict standards mandated by food and safety authorities. The Rotake Reuseable system provides a professional hygienization service in Aarhus for this purpose.
  • Some cafes prefer not to handle or receive dirty packaging across the counter or manage the washing of used cups.
  • Allowing the return of cups directly to cafes increases the risk of theft or fraudulent attempts involving the 5 kr. deposit, posing challenges in managing deposit payments at the cafe level.

How do you inspect the cups?

Following the cleaning process, each cup undergoes inspection by our personnel. Furthermore, our facility undergoes routine testing to ensure effective cleaning outcomes. We use laboratory testing methods to guarantee microbiological cleanliness.

How do you collect the cups?

We use an electric van to transport used cups from the collection points to our sanitation facility in Aarhus.

How long does it take to clean the cups?

We empty the collection points at least every 48 hours. Following the emptying process, the cups are transported to our sanitation facility in Aarhus and undergo immediate cleaning.

How long is the deposit valid?

The 5 kr deposit per cup is valid for one year time, from the moment you got your to-go drink in a reusable cup.