Sustainable UCL


CLUBZERØ's Returnable Cups Scheme at UCL

Mechanical Engineering student, Baijang Wang, writes a piece on CLUBZERØ, the smart, reuse system that combines returnable packaging with tracking technology to tackle the global plastic waste crisis.

Image of Club Zero cup

15 May 2023

Author: Baijang Wan, MSc Engineering with Innovation and Entrepreneurship student, UCL Mechanical Engineering. 


CLUBZERØ is a smart reuse system that combines returnable packaging with tracking technology to tackle the global plastic waste crisis. CLUBZERØ offer restaurants, cafes and their customers a zero-waste alternative to single-use plastic packaging that is convenient and eliminates the need for single-use plastic packaging. And guess what? Their reusable cups are available in the following UCL Cafés:

  • Brew Bar, 22 Gordon Street
  • Café on the Quad
  • Engineering Café
  • Institute of Education Café, Floor 4
  • The Housman (staff only)
  • Student Centre Café
  • Science Library Café
  • Wilkins Café

CLUBZERØ's Borrow & Return system allows students, faculties and staff to ditch single-use plastics and make reusables the new norm for FREE! Plus, you avoid an extra 25p charge when using CLUBZERØ or other reusable cups.

As part of the Sustainability Strategy, UCL are rethinking our behaviours to address unsustainable consumption and have a mission to reduce waste per person by 20% and become a single-use plastic free campus by 2024. By signing up to CLUBZERØ you can help achieve this goal!   

Sign up to use CLUBZERØ in 2 simple steps:


Download the CLUBZERØ app and register to Borrow returnable cups free on campus.

Yellow Club Zero cup return box


Scan and return your reusable cup to any CLUBZERØ yellow box across UCL. Find these in participating cafes!

To date, UCL has already served 3,200+ hot drinks in reusable packaging saving 192kg+ of CO2 and 112kg+ of plastic and paper waste at UCL alone.

“As a UCL Mechanical Engineering student, I'm always looking for ways to incorporate sustainability into my daily routine, and that's why I love using CLUBZERØ for my morning coffee. It's a hassle-free and eco-friendly option that aligns with my values, and I feel proud to support a company that's committed to sustainability.” -Baijiang Wan

CLUBZERØ's story so far

CLUBZERØ was founded in 2018 by Safia Qureshi, UCL alumni, with an aim to replace single-use plastic packaging. Since their launch, they've won a number of awards including their most recent 2022

Image of Club Zero cup in front of large green UCL letters
D&AD wood pencil for Best in Packaging Design. At the end of 2022, they signed a £1M deal with Just Eat for Business, working together towards their collective mission of reducing waste in the takeaway sector. CLUBZERØ packaging uses 50% less CO2 than single-use plastic lined cups and food boxes and can be fully recycled at the end of their lifecycle, with each product being used a minimum of 250 times! They've already served 3,000+ customers across cities in Europe and North America and saved 2.2million+ single-use plastic items ending up in landfills and they're only just getting started.

CLUBZERØ's commitment to building a future free of plastic waste remains unwavered as they continue to pave the way to a more sustainable world with zero waste.

Baijiang is currently completing his project in designing a reusable pizza box. The design and operations of CLUBZERØ had practical implications for his own project and therefore used it as part of his case study.