UrCup – a deposit cup system implemented in Gdynia

As mentioned already in my previous post, I have recently moved to Gdynia. Therefore everything in this city seems to me fresh and exciting. I enthusiastically explore new, interesting spots, local cultural events and – last but not least – eco-friendly projects. One of such initiatives I have recently discovered in the city is a multi-use returnable cup system introduced by a company called UrCup.

How does UrCup work?

The company provides its multi-use plastic cups to participating coffee retailers. If you buy a take-away coffee in one of them, you can rent a reusable plastic mug for which you will pay a deposit of 5 PLN (10 if you need a lid). Afterwards, you can return the mug in any café or shop that has signed up for the programme. Currently, the participating partners in Gdynia are:

  1. Degustatornia
  2. Crema Caffe Gdynia
  3. I Love Gdynia (a souvenir shop)
  4. Tawerna Żeglarska Akrim
  5. Dzień dobry Lody
  6. Pączkarnia
  7. Może Kawy?
  8. Kawiarnia Coffee Time.
  9. Avocado store and more.

It’s possible that in the future the above list will be extended, so it is a good idea to install the UrCap application on your mobile. It will allow you to find all the programme partners on the city map. I believe UrCup offers a very convenient solution: let’s say I need to go shopping in the city centre (for example, to Avocado Store) where I can also buy a take-away coffee. After that I can take a walk to the city beach or the boulevard where I can return the mug in one of the participating businesses and get my deposit back.

Small, medium and big – reusable mugs available at Avocado Store&More in Gdynia

For the time being, there is a relatively small number of businesses participating in the programme, but I hope that very soon UrCup will conquer entire cities (not only Gdynia). I also count on my favourite cafes in Gdynia – Tłok, Black and White and Hygge – to join the programme at some point.

Supporting festivals and other big events

After one and a half year of pandemic, many people consider festivals and concerts as events from the distant past. A lot of music lovers would definitely shed a tear remembering those activities from the pre-Covid era. One thing you have to admit though – these events had their gloomy side as well. One of my memories from big concerts are piles of single-use plastic beer cups. Definitely a depressing view for every fan of a zero waste lifestyle.

As many Covid restrictions have been lifted (at least for the summer period), we can now enjoy concerts again. Perhaps concert or festival organisers will be interested in UrCup’s products. The company offers multi-use plastic cups as a replacement of the disposable ones used at sports or culture events. Organisers can select either purchase or rental of the cups (the service includes delivery, pick-up, generally all the logistics).

So far, UrCup has provided their cups to such festivals as Pol’and’Rock, Orange, Opener or Off, as well as a few other big events – full portfolio to be found on their website.

A few years ago, when I was visiting Berlin (I wrote about my stay in this blog post: https://makeitabetterplace.eu/en/2018/09/how-do-they-do-it-in-berlin/), I had a chance to attend a concert in one of the clubs. I remember that I was very impressed by the multi-use cup system implemented in the club. Beer and other drinks were poured into returnable plastic cups for which guests had to pay a deposit of a few euro. After the concert and (beer consumption) finished, you could return the cup at the bar and get your deposit back. It was my first contact with such a system, therefore I’m very happy I will be able to see it again here in Poland. I keep my fingers crossed for UrCup and their further conquest of the market!

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