Hire-a-Cup Project Launches In the Czech Republic

Would you pay an extra 50 CZK for a returnable takeaway coffee cup from your local cafe?

Expats.cz Staff Jason Pirodsky

Written by Expats.cz StaffJason Pirodsky Published on 06.08.2018 09:27:45 (updated on 06.08.2018) Reading time: 1 minute

A network of cafés in Olomouc has started a joint project – “Hire a Cup” (Půjčte si kelímek) – aimed at replacingone-time non-recyclable take-away cups with a more sustainable solution: for a small refundable fee you can borrow a to-go cup.

According to data obtained by Olomouc.cz, 6,000-8,000 cups of coffee are used every month in the Czech Republic’s sixth largest city. Current technologies do not allow them to be recycled, so the vast majority end up in a landfill or incinerator.

The inspiration for the project came from Germany, where the same system has been operating for a long time.

“We have established cooperation with local representatives of the project CupForCup, who gave us the know-how and the actual reusable cups to test,”project co-founder Jan Havranek told Lidovky.cz last week.

The group would like to add more cafes to its ecologically-minded collective of businesses and hopes that by the end of the year the project can expand beyond Olomouc.

The principle of the Hire a Cup project is simple: customers can choose whether to take their coffee in a disposable or returnable cup at the cafes – if you opt for a returnable cup, you pay a 50 CZK deposit.  Any business involved in the project will accept the return and hand back your deposit.

Havranek says that 90 percent of customers opt for the returnable cup.

Chances are the project would be welcome in other types of eateries and cities, including the beer gardens of the Czech capital where an activist was recently refused (but eventually received) service after requesting that her beer be poured into a recyclable cup at Letná beer garden. 


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A number of local music festivals have also started offering returnable cups to cut down on waste.

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