Blenheim Palace has enhanced its returnable cups scheme by offering a £1 discount on hot drinks to visitors who bring their own cup.

The scheme, originally trialled in the Walled Garden in 2022, is attracting the attention of industry leaders and retailers nationwide.

Visitors are encouraged to choose sustainability with takeaway hot drinks now served in returnable cups.

These cups come with a £2 deposit, and indoor drinkers are given the choice of a ceramic cup.

After finishing their drink, visitors return the cup to a return point on-site, scan the QR code, and their deposit is refunded.

Alternatively, they can donate their deposit to Blenheim Palace’s charity of the year.

The cups are then cleaned, ready to serve another customer.

Blenheim’s head of innovation, David Green, said: "We were delighted to host a visit of some major UK brands - including many of the big supermarket chains - who visited us to hear more about our returnable cup scheme, which will eradicate single-use coffee cups on the Estate by using deposit return technology."

The scheme cuts the palace's yearly carbon emissions by around 30 tonnes of CO2e, the equivalent of the annual emissions of 19 petrol-driven vehicles.

It also puts an end to the disposal of 400,000 single-use coffee cups.

Blenheim Palace collaborated with Oxfordshire-based re-universe and Circular&Co to merge deposit and tracking technology with a cup manufactured specifically for their use.

Other organisations that worked on the project were Avery Dennison, GS1, Mitsui, and Zebra Technologies, towards a Life Cycle Analysis being conducted by RECOUP.

David Green added: "We believe climate change is the single biggest threat to Blenheim’s long-term survival and we’re committed to doing all we can to reduce and mitigate its impacts and help safeguard this World Heritage Site and its resources for future generations."

Representatives from key UK retailers recently toured the palace to learn about the new reusable cup scheme, with the day managed by RECOUP.

Katherine Fleet, head of sustainability and circularity at RECOUP, said: "Unlocking reuse at scale is a key industry focus as we transition to a circular economy.

"We were therefore delighted to be hosted, along with some of our members, by Blenheim Palace, re-universe and other partners, to experience their pioneering digital returnable cup scheme."

Rachel Warren, CEO of re-universe, added: "Blenheim are leading the way with a digital reuse scheme that engages visitors, delivers cup-to-cup traceability and accurate real-time data, and we are proud to have partnered with them on this ongoing initiative."

As part of its '10 Goals', Blenheim Palace is devoted to confronting the climate crisis by aiming to become carbon-neutral by 2027 and cut more than 200,000 tonnes of CO2e by 2050.