How will people know my business is in the network?
When you sign up as a member, you’ll be given the following resources:
▪ an Orbit window sticker to show passing customers that you’re in;
▪ a counter display explaining how the system works;
▪ your business will be added to our online map so that customers can see you’re part of our network.
We will use our social media channels to let customers know that you have joined the network and we’ll leave you with some images and hashtags to help fire up your own online marketing.
How many cups do I get?
The number of cups you take will depend on how many takeaways you sell. We recommend roughly matching the number of average daily takeaway sales as a starting point. This allows for decent customer uptake, as well as the strong possibility that customers will return cups to other outlets or keep them for a couple of days before bringing them back.
How does a customer check-out a cup?
When a customer orders a takeaway drink or soup, your staff will ask if they’d like it in an Orbit Cup. If it’s their first time seeing the cups, they may need a short explanation of the system (we’ll train your staff so that this is quick and slick).
If they opt for the reusable choice, they pay the full price for their drink or soup and then an extra £1 for the cup. You can accept that as cash (and add the coin to a dedicated jar) or take it as a card transaction along with the rest of the customer’s payment. You will need to add a line on your till for this and treat it as a deposit, not a sale.
The customer then takes the cup away and – bingo! – one less disposable cup used!
How does a customer return a cup?
When a customer returns their cup to you, you give them their deposit back in cash, from that dedicated jar.
You then wash the cup just as you would a ceramic cup and return it to your counter stock. As the cups are lightweight, you may find it easier to put a rack on top of them in the dishwasher, to stop them turning upside down.
If a customer returns a broken or damaged cup to you, you do not need to accept it or return their deposit. But please tell us – we would like to know if any cups are lost from the system.
What if I end up with loads more cups than I started with? Or none?
We won’t know exactly how the cups will circulate around the network until it gets going. However, from talking to people running other networks, they do not seem to experience issues with outlets having far too many or too few cups. We will work with you to address any such issues if they arise.
What about lids?
Until now, networks using our cups have relied on the disposable lids that you currently stock. Every brand we have come across fits the cups snugly. Although this is not a perfect solution, thousands of mixed-material cups will be saved from landfill or incineration.
However, the cup manufacturer is now offering sturdy, white, reusable lids with the cups. These are not made in the UK as the cups are, but are still single-material polypropylene.
You can offer these to customers as a separate returnable item from the cup at a value of 50p. We expect that some customers will prefer to keep their lid, as they may not like the idea of sharing a lid, even though they are washed just like a shared ceramic cup. However, we also anticipate that lids may be easily lost, so having the option to return the whole item (cup and lid together) may enhance the retention of lids.
The issue of lids is something that we are flexible on. We will start the network without reusable lids and then act on customer feedback as to whether we should add them in.
I already sell reusable cups. How will this fit in?
Some customers always carry their own reusable cup; others never do. From an environmental stance, Orbit Cups exist to serve the current demand for disposables and we expect that those who bring their own will continue to do so. For the relative carbon impacts, see our customer FAQs.
Depending on the price point of the reusable cups you sell, Orbit Cups may or may not be seen as an alternative. Having spoken to lots of cafe customers, most people already have at least one reusable cup at home. They buy them as gifts, because they like the way they look or for the branding. Orbit Cups are a direct alternative to a single-use cup, available at the point of ordering a takeaway.
I don’t sell drinks. Can I still be involved?
Yes! You can sign up as a return-only point, supporting the network by offering customers greater convenience. You’ll be able to use your membership to let a shared customer base know about your commitment to reducing single-use waste and we hope that membership will bring new customers into contact with your business.
All we ask is that you keep a dedicated jar of cash for deposit refunds and that you wash the cups when you receive them. When you have received 20 cups, let us know and we will arrange for them to be collected.
How do I let you know what my customers are saying?
You can email us at email@example.com with feedback at any time. We are here to help make the network a roaring success, so we want to boost what’s working well and address what’s not as quickly as possible.
We will give you a data collection sheet for use at the start of your membership. By filling this in, we can keep track of how many disposable cups you are saving, how the cups are moving around and how your customers feel about the concept.
You are welcome to continue to use this sheet after your initial joining period and record the information for your own use. All we ask if that you get in touch every month to let us know how many cups you're saving.
Why are the costs tiered?
What you pay is related to the volume of takeaways you currently sell. We believe that busier outlets should contribute more than smaller ones, as their potential savings are far greater. It is also vital to the success of the network that we have as many businesses as possible involved - so that we can offer customers maximum convenience – and we hope that the starting tier will allow businesses with little potential saving to join up.
Do I have to sign up to a contract?
During the first two months of your membership, you are free to leave the network at any time. This gives us the opportunity to build uptake with your customers and work out if the system is viable for you.
After this period, you will sign up to a six month contract with a one month notice period.
What is covered by the monthly fee?
It is what keeps all this going. It allows us to build the network and deal with any challenges you might have, as well as give us a buffer for all the cups we’re putting out there. It also gives you an incentive to promote reuse over single-use with your customers, since the more customers you can get using our cups, the more you save on disposables.
Continued membership of the network gives you an enhanced opportunity to shout about all the good work you’re doing in your business – beyond reducing waste through disposable cups – and to connect with a wider customer base than just your own current audience.
We are a registered Community Interest Company aiming to make it easier for people to live greener lives in simple, everyday ways. We are committed to reinvesting any profits into our aims and are very happy to share these with you.
Can I have my brand on the cups?
No. The system is designed so that the cups circulate around the member businesses, so they could be checked in and checked out of various cafes, bars or takeaways and must be useable by everyone. But you can market yourself through membership of the network, showing increasingly conscious customers your commitment to reducing waste.
In the future, we may take on a network sponsor who would have their logo on the cups, although there are no plans to do this at the moment.
Can I still offer disposable cups to my customers?
Yes, you are free to offer disposables alongside our cups, although we do ask that you pro-actively recommend our cups to your customers. The more customers you can get to switch away from disposables, the greater your environmental impact and the more money you will save.
If you get to the point where you want to ditch the disposables altogether, we’d love to support you with this and help you shout about your commitment to reducing waste. You’ll be our star member!
Can I sell on the cups?
No. You should only check-out a cup with a drink or soup in it. The cups are meant to remain within the system and we will be encouraging customers to return cups, not keep them in their cupboard or car.
If you know someone who is interested in buying cups for their workplace or for events, please point them to us to discuss this.
I want to replace single-use cups at work / in a group I run. Can you help?
We'd love to help. If you can't be part of our network but still want to make a difference, you can use our cups to replace disposables wherever you use them.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss what you're looking for.
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