Frequently Asked Questions

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How much does the Refill Return Cup cost to borrow?

It is free to borrow a cup, we just ask that you return it within 2 weeks so it can be used again. In August we will introduce a late return charge for unreturned or broken cups so we can replace these cups into the system.

Where can I borrow a cup from?

There are currently 11 coffee shops where you can borrow or return a cup from, in the city centre and surrounding areas. Check out the list on this page, or head to the Refill app to find out where! We aim to have up to 30 participating coffee shops taking part in the project.

How do I borrow a cup?

Download the Refill app, head to your nearest participating coffee shop & ask for your drink in a Refill Return Cup. The barista will scan your personal QR code when they hand you your drink so you can take it away and enjoy it!

How do I return a cup?

Head to any of the participating coffee shops (it doesn’t have to be the one you borrowed from & you can find these in the Refill app). Just place your cup and lid into the return box in the coffee shop or hand it over the counter to the barista. That’s everything done on your part!

Do I need to scan anything?

No, you do not need to scan anything when you borrow or return your cup. The barista will take care of all the scanning and will scan your personal QR code which you can find in the Refill app.

Can I borrow more than one cup?

Yes you can borrow up to four cups in one transaction, meaning that you can get drinks for you and your friends, family or colleagues in Refill Return Cups. Just make sure you return all of the cups and lids.

Do I have to queue to return my cup?

No, you can place it in the clearly marked return box or hand it straight over the counter to the barista without queuing

What happens if I lose or break my cup?

To begin with, nothing will happen if you lose your cup. However, in August we will be introducing a charge for unreturned cups so we can replace them. This will be around £3 to replace the cup and lid. Until then, the initiative is free to use, but make sure you return your cup and lid so it can be used again.

Do I have to return the lid too?

Yes please! They have an environmental cost too so make sure they come back so they can be washed and reused.

Do I need to wash my cup before returning it?

No, the coffee shop will take care of the washing. However, give it a rinse if you can so coffee isn’t sat in it for a while.

Do I have to have the app to take part?

You do for now. The app will enable you to borrow cups, see where you can use the initiative and track your impact in helping to tackle plastic pollution.

Are the cups hygienic?

Yes, the cups and lids will be washed by the coffee shop before use, just as they do with their ceramic or drink in cups. All coffee shops adhere to a set of hygiene standards and check the cups before each use.

Where are the cups from and why are you using them?

The cups are produced by Cornish company Circular & Co and are made from polypropylene, a plastic that can be reused 500 times, washed easily and recycled multiple times before being downcycled at end of life. They have a low breakeven point, meaning they have a lower CO2 emission after just 2 uses.


Can I reuse the same cup over and over?

Yes you can! Just make sure it’s clean, ask the barista to use the same one and they will scan it so your impact increases in the app.