Deposit-and-return scheme for reusable cups unveiled

Dublin City Council pilot project sees customers paying €1 for cup with money back on return

Dublin City Council has unveiled a scheme it hopes will end the use of single-use coffee cups in the capital.

The Co-Cup Scheme involves a deposit-and-return approach for reusable cups in Dublin. The pilot scheme involving Dublin City University, Trinity College Dublin and the council's civic offices will be rolled out if there is public demand.

In the three locations, customers who buy takeaway coffee will have to also purchase a takeaway cup costing €1. If they request a lid, it will be an extra €1. When customers return their cup they get their €1 back. The lid can be kept and re-used.

A recent Government-funded study estimated up to 200 million single-use coffee, non-recyclable cups are used in Ireland every year – 22,000 cups every hour.


The pilot begins on Monday in Dublin City University and Trinity College Dublin coffee docks and cafes and will be rolled out to Dublin City Council on April 29th.

The pilot project in Ireland is funded by the Environmental Protection Agency and run by 2GoCup Ltd, an Irish start-up based in Clonskeagh.

The company provides plastic reusable cups, biodegradable cups and cups made from bamboo.

The scheme is based on a template overseas. In Germany has more than 1,300 coffee shop outlets, while a pilot scheme has also started in Boulder, Colorado, and in the United Kingdom.

TCD provost Patrick Prendergast said he hoped the initiative would make Dublin a "city known for sustainability".

He added: “We are doing a lot in our cycle lanes and in our waste management. The cup is so public. We are delighted to be able to partake in this not just for our 17,000 students and 3,000 staff, but our thousands of visitors.”

Dublin city councillor Ciaran Cuffe said it was great to see an Irish start-up to produce a reusable cup. "This is a brilliant step in the right direction," he said.

Dublin City Council chief executive Owen Keegan said the council will promote the usable cups. If we see interest in it, it will be rolled out," he said. "If we give leadership, it might take off."

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times