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Cuploop wants to make circulating reusables as easy as throwing things away – with a little help from Confidex RFID tags

In 2018 Marek attended a streetfood festival in Tallinn where single-use plastic cups were replaced by reusables. However, the solution was far from ideal. “It interrupted vendor sales”, Marek says. “Counting the cups manually and collecting the deposit was difficult. “

A F&B company came up with the idea of solving the problem with RFID technology. Tags would be too expensive for single use items, but they make a lot of sense with reusable cups with up to 100–500 circles before recycling. So, the team organized a test event in Tallinn.

Sustainability and circular economy

Sustainability and reusability are on the rise, with the EU taking legislative actions against throwaway plastics, but many initiatives struggle with the last mile. Many clients used to make their own manual solutions for reusable cups and takeaway food containers, with difficult deposit systems.

No scanning, barcodes or QR codes are needed. Thanks to Confidex RFID solution, the statistical data of when packages were sold and when they were returned is also available. With unique IDs, asset tracking through the whole chain is enabled: how many packages are in the shop, and which ones are going to expire soon.

“RFID has so many advantages” summarizes Marek Suchaževski. “For reusable packages it is the only possible direction”

Seen by many of their clients as the missing link in their service and COOP Estonia grocery chain piloting their machines, the company is expected to grow rapidly.

The solution

After trying out many RFID tags, Confidex tags fit best for the purpose, combining RF performance and perfect adhesive. The adhesive was also perfect for their solution: the longer you wash the better it sticks. It also allows a wide temperature range.

Read range was a key factor: “You can read them from even nine-meter distance.”, Marek says. “For example, if at an event somebody throws a package in the bushes, we can scan them with hand scanners to find all the cups.”

Towards more sustainable future

Marek sees there is a lot of unnecessary packing. “For example, in a grocery store small items like grapes and bananas are packed in plastic”, he says. “Kids’ toys are packed separately. This is insane.”

According to Marek Suchaževski, Confidex technology is a good example of how you can combine today’s technology with sustainability.

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Harni Jabar