FAQs

More about Borrow*

Green Street is a not-for-profit organisation that helps to develop greener British high streets, in the retail and hospitality sectors. We give high street businesses the knowledge, tools and skills to become more sustainable and share this with their customers! We also provide research through strategic pilot schemes, such as Borrow* and the pioneer businesses involved act as catalysts for change across the UK.

To find out more about us, visit our website.

Borrow* is an innovative scheme that offers customers an alternative to using single use packaging for takeaway drinks and food. Customers borrow cups and food boxes for a small deposit and, when they have finished, return cups to any participating Borrow* business. The packaging is washed and ready to be used again. Borrow* customers also receive discounts, instantly saving money on drinks and food ordered in Borrow* packaging and are rewarded every time they use a Borrow* cup or food box with a free entry to win our monthly Borrow* prize draw. It’s that simple, and a great way to dramatically reduce the eye-watering volumes of packaging that only gets used once!

The idea for Borrow* came from a pilot led by Green Street in Bradford to help high street businesses become more sustainable. The pilot explored how small businesses can work together to create better solutions for customers and the environment. The pilot to trial reusable packaging was made possible by funding from the Bring It Back Fund.

It’s easy; you save money and have access to added perks; and get the feel good factor from knowing you’re contributing to a better environment. Just pop into your nearest Borrow* businesses and:

  1. Borrow* – ask for a returnable  Borrow* cup or food boxes and pay a small, refundable deposit
  2. Discount – your order will be cheaper right away, saving you money on your order as a thank you for supporting the environment
  3. Enjoy your food or drink
  4. Scan the QR code on the cup or food box to register for the prize draw platform and then scan each time you reuse for an entry into the monthly prize draw.
  5. Return when you’re done – return the cup or food box to a participating venue to receive your deposit back
  6. Clean – the venue cleans the returnable packaging ready to be reused again

Then enjoy the feeling of knowing you’ve saved money and helped take positive action towards a sustainable future by reducing waste!

Reusable packaging is always the better option to choose in terms of environmental impact. The average lifespan of a single use coffee cup is just 15 minutes and every day in the UK we use 7 million disposable cups which is over 3 billion per year.

Using an item once and for such a short time can be wasteful because:

  • It is using resources that take energy to produce and contribute to global warming
  • Disposable cups and food boxes are often made overseas so involve high transport costs and energy usage
  • Single use cups cause added pollution as most disposable cups can’t be recycled
  • Large numbers of disposable cups end up in overflowing bins or not disposed of in the right way, littering our local environment

Buying single use disposable packaging is also a significant cost for businesses and organisations and this often contributes to higher prices for the customer.



Most people are happy to eat in cafés and to reuse plates, cups and glasses that have been washed in the cafe’s dishwasher. Borrow* returnable cups and food boxes are cleaned in the same way when they are returned. We take cleanliness and hygiene very seriously at Borrow* and we have strict cleaning guidelines in place for all of our partnering venues. Each cup and food box is thoroughly cleaned at high temperatures to ensure that they are completely safe for reuse. Additionally, we only work with venues that hold a 4* and above hygiene rating, so you can rest assured that your borrowed cup or packaging is as clean as can be.

With our cups, no; you can pick up, pay a small refundable deposit, use and return our returnable cups without a smartphone and enjoy a discount on your order as usual.  

With food boxes at MyLahore Delivery, you’ll need a smartphone to return boxes with a delivery driver but can still return them to the store without a smartphone.

If you want to opt in to benefit from the other Borrow* perks like the free entry to the monthly prize draw, you’ll need to do that using a phone, so you can scan the QR code and sign up using WhatsApp or Messenger. Registering is simple, takes two minutes and doesn’t require a separate app!

If you don’t want to register, you can still borrow cups and food boxes and get money off your order – that’s a perk in itself! We want make Borrow* as accessible as possible for people, so the scheme can still be used without any technology.

All participating venues display a sticker in their window that identifies them as a Borrow* venue. In addition to stickers, you may also see posters and other branded displays in store. Keep your eyes peeled for these, and feel free to ask a member of staff if you’re not sure (if they’re not already part of it, maybe they’d like to join!). Visit our interactive map to find all our current Borrow* businesses and follow us on social media for updates on who is joining the Borrow* scheme.

We are looking to extend Borrow* to more locations so please just email us at hello@greenstreet.org.uk with details of any venues you think will be interested and we can get in touch with them.

The funding to launch Borrow* was on the basis of it being in Bradford and followed on from other work that Green Street has carried out with local high street businesses in the city. At Borrow*, we’ve always cared about the city of Bradford and we see initiatives like this as an opportunity to bring the hospitality community together and make a real difference. We’re excited about the possibility of expanding the scheme both regionally and nationally across the UK, please get in touch at hello@greenstreet.org.uk if you would like Borrow* in your local community or place.

At our participating Borrow* venues, we’ll be encouraging the use of our returnable packaging.However, we also understand that some customers may prefer to still use single use disposables. We’ve designed the Borrow* scheme to be an opt-in programme, so customers can choose to participate if they want to.

Of course you can! Unfortunately, using your own cup doesn’t earn Borrow* rewards like entry to the monthly prize draw, but you can usually still enjoy a discount on your drink. It’s great that you’re already reusing, so there’s no need to change a thing!

Great – we’d love to hear from you! Just drop us an email at hello@greenstreet.org.uk or message us via Facebook, @We Are Green Street, Instagram @__greenstreet or Twitter @__greenstreet

How to save money with Borrow*

For the same reason people don’t stop washing up at home and just use disposable cups, plates and knives and forks; it would cost a lot of money and it would seem wasteful. Every time we use disposable packaging for our food and drink takeaways, we’re wasting money and resources in the same way. Disposable packaging costs  a lot of money, so Borrow* venues share with  customers some of the savings made by not using a disposable cup when they choose to use Borrow* returnable cups. One Borrow* cup can be washed and used 1000 timesii – that adds up to a lot of savings compared to using 1000 disposable cups.

When you choose a Borrow* cup, your discount will be automatically applied at the till by the café.

Cafés want to pass on some of the savings they make by not buying single use disposable packaging as a thank you and an incentive to choose Borrow* returnable packaging. The price they pay for the packaging varies so the savings they can pass on may vary.

More about the Borrow* reusable cups

Our cup is made from food-grade, BPA-free polypropylene #5 plastic. You may be thinking why we are using plastic? Well, the material is highly resistant to heat and very durable – meaning it can be washed at commercial dishwashing temperatures and reused up to 1,000 times.

The cup has been designed in the UK to use as little material as possible, which makes it a reusable champion. As the cups are made of only one plastic material – polypropylene – it’s also one of the easiest and most widely recycled materials out thereiii. Our lids are made from an innovative biomaterial using a mixture of recycled cooking oil and vegetable oil collected from the food industry plus plant-based oils which are the side streams of other plant based industries. None of the plant-based sources come from plants or trees used to grow food for humans or animals. This means the food we grow can actually feed humankind and not be a raw material!

Our cups have been designed in the UK and are made in Belgium at the moment. We know it’s not quite on our doorstep, but it’s the right cup for us and the environment and it’s as close to home as we could find!

When you choose one of our Borrow* cups, the participating café will provide a reusable lid to go with it. Do the same with the lid as you do with the cup: use, rinse (if you can) and return for cleaning and reuse!

By choosing a Borrow* cup and lid, you’re helping to reduce waste and joining the #reuserevolution as part of the solution. If you’re concerned about the hygiene of lids, just ask to keep the same lid to reuse each time.

The Borrow* cup has been designed for hot drinks, but we’ve discovered that it’s quite versatile and can be used for other drinks too, including smoothies, iced lattes and more! By choosing to Borrow*, you can replace all of your single use cups with a reusable alternative.

Yes, our cups have insulated walls that keep your drink hot and also protect your hands. Of course, with any hot drink, it’s important to take care. While our cups may not be quite as toasty as a thermos, they’ll definitely keep your coffee warm and offer around 2.2 times more thermal protection than single use alternatives. 

Not at the moment, for now we want to encourage people to start reusing and trying out the idea of a circular borrowing scheme. That said, if you would like to continue using the same cup you can do just that. Just let your barista know that you’d like to use the same one and they will be happy to make your drink in the same Borrow* cup for you.

When the cups can no longer be used we’ll recycle it or give it a new home with our friends over at Esholt Hall Gardens where they are repurposed as seedling planters or used in fun educational growing projects with local schools.

Borrow* in your local café

To find a list of participating venues, please just visit the Green Street website or, if you’re in the high street, look for a Borrow* sticker in the window.

We only accept venues with high hygiene standards and have received a 4*s or above rating in the local authority food hygiene rating. The cafés also need to sell takeaway hot drinks and have access to appropriate cleaning facilities. We are recruiting venues in the Bradford, Shipley and Saltaire area right now but will look to extend to further areas soon. If you have a business and would like to be involved, you’ll find further information here.

We are working hard towards a returnable solution for café takeout food items and will be sure to let you know as soon as we can offer more products in returnable packaging! In the meantime, check out our separate trial with MyLahore Bradford Delivery, exploring takeaway in returnable food boxes with their menu items. Please visit https://greenstreet.org.uk/borrow/ for more information about this scheme.

Unfortunately not, the cafés can’t take your food boxes as the MyLahore Delivery Bradford pilot is currently a separate scheme. Please take Borrow* reusable food boxes with lids back to MyLahore Delivery at 348 Great Horton Road, Bradford BD7 1QJ during opening times 7 days a week or organise a pick up on your next direct delivery from MyLahore.

Luckily, it’s super easy to do! All of our participating venues are happy to accept Borrow* cups and refund your deposit, so just head to our website to find out which venues are involved and pop in during opening hours.

How the deposits and returns work

We buy all the returnable cups and lids and we need them back to be washed and reused again for the scheme to work and be financially viable. We have found that asking for a small deposit encourages customers to return their cups. When you choose a Borrow* cup for your takeaway drink, you’ll pay a small returnable deposit. But don’t worry – you can get that deposit back when you return the cup to any participating venue or if you opt to swap or refill your cup, you won’t have to pay the deposit again. It’s a bit like putting a coin in your shopping trolley and getting it back when you return it! It’s not vital that you wash your cup either; the venue will take care of that. Just drop it off as soon as you are finished to get your deposit back.

When you choose one of our Borrow* cups for your takeaway drink, you’ll pay a £1 refundable deposit to the venue and this covers both the cup and its lid.

It’s easy! Just return your cup and lid to your closest Borrow* venue and hand it in at the till for a refund of your deposit. Please remember that the MyLahore Bradford Delivery pilot is a separate scheme so you can’t return cups to MyLahore Delivery or restaurants.

All of our participating venues are happy to accept Borrow* cups, so just head to https://borrow.greenstreet.org.uk/#asl-storelocator to find out which venues are involved.

If you’d like to swap a cup for a fresh one with your next hot drink order, we’re happy to do that too! By doing so, you won’t need to pay a new deposit, and you’ll still be able to get your discount on your drink and enter the free monthly prize draws.

We would like you to drop your cup back as soon as you can so that they can be cleaned and reused by other people.

No, there is no need to clean your cups before you return them. If you are in town and have finished with your cup, please just drop if back off at one of our Borrow* venues and get your deposit back. If you are going to hang on to it, we recommend you give it a rinse but we understand that it’s not always possible. Our cups and cup lids can go in a dishwasher or just be rinsed by hand.

While our cups are built to last for hundreds of uses, accidents can happen. But don’t worry – if they break, they’re still recyclable! Please still drop them off at a participating venue for your deposit refund and for them to be recycled or repurposed.

How to collect points and claim rewards

Using the Borrow* returnable packaging has many benefits (perks) for different parts of our society:

  • Customers get to save money as they get cheaper food and drink by choosing to use Borrow* returnable packaging for their takeouts
  • The environment by stopping single use and the waste of resources
  • Local independent businesses by providing a cheaper alternative to expensive single use packaging and providing them an opportunity to help their customers to be more sustainable and attract new customers
  • The local community by helping to combat local litter and waste issues

There are several perks available to everybody who chooses to use Borrow* returnables:

  • An instant discount on all items in returnable packaging
  • An opportunity to enter the free monthly prize draw to win a different prize every month every time you borrow
  • The feel good factor, knowing that you’re doing your part towards a #GreenerBradford

To register for extra perks, simply scan the QR code on the packaging or alternatively you can sign up here. Then, every time you use a Borrow* cup or food box, scan the QR code again for a free entry to our monthly Borrow* prize draw.

A free entry into the monthly prize draw is available every time you use Borrow* reusable packaging. It’s easy to enter – just make sure you’ve registered with Borrow* by scanning QR code on your Borrow* cup or box then hit the ‘enter prize draw’ button and we’ll do the rest. Visit https://www.borrowtoday.chat/borrow to find out about the current prize.

Our rewards platform is hosted on the Local Rewards platform which has been developed by a company called Maybe* who we have been working in partnership with to develop Borrow*

To leave the rewards platform, please enter the message CANCEL into your account (either on WhatsApp or Messenger, depending which one you signed up with). We’ll close your account and you will no longer be able to enter the prize draw for returning your packaging.

The environmental impact of Borrow*

Circular means that something is reused again and again rather than being thrown away once it is used. Reusing items like packaging gives products a continued life, saving the raw materials that would be used in manufacturing new items. The more items we reuse, the more energy we save and fewer resources end up in landfill. In our circular scheme, customers borrow an item for first use; return the borrowed item to a vendor (such as a café or restaurant); the vendor thoroughly cleans the item and uses it again with their next customer. This creates a circle of reuse and reduces waste!

Great question! We’re happy to report that our Borrow* cups have a significantly lower environmental impact than single use paper cups. When you compare the carbon footprint of our cup with that of single use paper cups, the results are clear: our Borrow* cups reduce CO2 equivalent by 20-30% after just two uses. That means that by choosing a Borrow* cup, you’re making a positive impact on the environment and helping to reduce waste.

No, definitely not. There is a common misconception that plastic is the problem; but in reality, it’s single use plastic (or single use in general) which is the issue! We need to reuse packaging as much as we can! Calculations of the benefits of using a reusable cup over a single use cup have taken into account the energy and resources needed to wash the Borrow* cup. If you reuse a Borrow* cup every day for 6 months instead of 182 single use cups, you save 96% of the carbon compared to using disposable paper cups

No, it’s far better to use something that’s reusable than compostable or biodegradable. While biodegradable and compostable packaging may seem like a green solution, they’re not as eco-friendly as you might think. Compostable cups are only used for an average of 15 minutes before they’re thrown away. The majority of cups that are labelled ‘compostable’ can’t just be thrown onto your garden compost; they need to be sent to a special industrial plant to be composted because home compost doesn’t get hot enough. Unfortunately, most of them end up in the landfill or they’re burned just like every other single use item. Worse, people often think that they are recyclable so throw them into their recycling and end up contaminating normal recycling waste. To truly reduce waste, we need to ditch the disposable mindset and opt for reusable options. Did you know that the UK throws away approximately 2.5 billion single use paper cups each year? By choosing reusables, we can make a real difference.

If we can get everybody making small changes, it will add up to big changes so you can definitely make a difference! There are 54.1 million adults in the UK. If every one of us decided just once to swap a disposable cup for a reusable one, the disposable cups we save, laid top to bottom, would stretch from Bradford to London not once or twice but 14 times! That’s a lot of cups and would make a huge difference.

Recycling can be a great option, but we need to start thinking about our impacts on a larger scale. Reusing any material is better for the environment than recycling since recycling requires a large amount of energy and money. 

Reuse only uses energy once when originally manufacturing an item, until the item is ready for recycling at the end of its life if broken or no longer fit for purpose. Reusing also creates less air and water pollution than recycling, so even though recycling is definitely helpful for the environment and should be part of our everyday; we’re really encouraging people to think about where they can introducing reusing, and that’s where Borrow* comes in!

Borrow* Takeaway pilot with MyLahore Bradford Delivery

We are carrying out a separate pilot with MyLahore Bradford Delivery, supplying takeaway orders made in person at the store or by telephone for delivery in returnable food packaging.  This is not integrated with and isn’t linked with the café and Borrow* cup scheme.

  1. Place your order with MyLahore Bradford Delivery, available 7 days a week in-store or direct by phone on 01274 521 732.
  2. Ask for Borrow* returnable food boxes for your order and receive an immediate 5% discount off all food items in Borrow* returnable food boxes.
  3. Take out or await your delivery and enjoy your food. 
  4. Scan your food boxes to register for the prize draw.
  5. Return your Borrow* returnable food boxes and lids either to MyLahore Bradford Delivery or to your MyLahore delivery driver when you have your next takeaway.
  6. Receive your deposit for the returned boxes, in cash either from the delivery driver or from the store.
  7. Feel good about doing something positive towards a #GreenerBradford to help the planet and your local environment.

 

So not only can you feel good about reducing your carbon footprint, but you can also save some money in the process.  It’s a win-win!



No, not at the moment. The Borrow* returnable food boxes are exclusively available from the takeaway at MyLahore Delivery Bradford, 348 Great Horton Road, BD7 1QJ. This fabulous takeaway branch is running a pilot scheme with returnable food boxes for most of its menu items, for orders in-store or orders placed by telephone directly to the branch.

The pilot will run until the end of October 2023, after which we’ll review the results with MyLahore and plan our next steps.

Yes you do! There is a 5% discount on all food items in returnable food boxes.

When you choose the returnable food box option for your takeaway, the MyLahore Bradford Delivery till will automatically apply your discount on the items in reusable food boxes.

The Borrow* returnable food boxes are made from 100% recyclable and reusable polypropylene. They can be used up to 150 times before they reach their end of life, then it’s time for them to be recycled.

Our Borrow* food boxes are made in France at the moment.  We know it’s not quite on our doorstep, but it’s the right box for us and the environment and it’s as close to home as we could find!

Yes, the returnable food boxes are designed to retain the heat in your meals until you get them home or your delivery driver drops them off with you.

This isn’t something MyLahore Bradford Delivery offers at the moment for customers.  However, by using the Borrow* reusable boxes, you will get a 5% discount on your order!

MyLahore Bradford Delivery provides returnable food boxes for just a 50p deposit per box. You get your deposit back when you return them to MyLahore Delivery or give them to your MyLahore delivery driver next time you place an order for delivery – the driver can refund your deposit in cash.

You can pay it by cash or on a debit or credit card with the rest of the payment for your order.

At the moment, most of the food items on the  menu are available in Borrow* returnable food boxes. However, certain items travel better in their original packaging, so MyLahore will continue to use these until there’s a suitable reusable replacement. Drinks aren’t available in reusable cups yet but this is something we’re exploring.

This scheme focuses on returnable food boxes, not cups. MyLahore only serves cold drinks and we’re working on sourcing the best reusable cup for these.  We’ll be sure to let you know as the range expands!

No, the scheme doesn’t work through UberEats. You must order directly with MyLahore Delivery Bradford at 348 Great Horton Road, BD7 1QJ either in-person or by phone on 01274 521 732.

No, the scheme doesn’t work with online orders. To participate, please order directly with the  MyLahore Delivery Bradford 348 Great Horton Road, BD7 1QJ either in-person or by phone on 01274 521 732.

Here’s a link to the MyLahore takeaway menu. 

A free entry into the monthly prize draw is available every time you use Borrow* returnable packaging. It’s easy to enter – just make sure you’ve signed up to Borrow* by scanning QR code on your Borrow* cup or box then hit the ‘enter prize draw’ button and we’ll do the rest. Visit https://www.borrowtoday.chat/borrow to find out about the current prize.

There are several perks available to everybody who chooses returnable food boxes:

  • An instant saving on all food items in reusable packaging 
  • An opportunity to enter the free monthly prize draw to win a prize every month and get rewarded for every time you reuse.
  • The feel good factor, knowing that you’re doing your part towards a #GreenerBradford

It’s easy! Just scan the QR code on your food box or visit: https://www.borrowtoday.chat/borrow  You only need to sign up once and it just takes a couple of minutes.

Yes, we can receive a maximum of 20 boxes per day.

Our rewards platform is hosted on the Local Rewards platform which has been developed by a company called Maybe* who we have been working in partnership with to develop Borrow*.

To leave the rewards scheme please enter the message CANCEL into your account (either on WhatsApp or Messenger, depending on which one you signed up with). We will then close your account and you will no longer be able to enter the monthly prize draw.

We’ve made it easy for you to return you Borrow* takeaway food boxes, even if you’ve ordered food for home delivery. If you’ve ordered takeaway from MyLahore Delivery Bradford, you have two options for returning your boxes and claiming your deposit. 

You can either:

    • return your boxes in person to MyLahore Delivery at 348 Great Horton Road, Bradford BD7 1QJ any time between 4pm and 1am, available 7 days a week; 
    • or ask the MyLahore driver delivering your next order to collect your boxes and refund your deposit. If you’re having boxes collected, make sure you’re signed up to Borrow* via the QR code on the box, let MyLahore staff know you have a collection when you place your order, then liaise with your driver at the time of delivery. They’ll take care of the rest.

You can drop them off with MyLahore Delivery at 348 Great Horton Road, BD7 1QJ at or ask the driver delivering your next order to collect boxes and refund your deposit.  Drop-off for returnable food boxes is available 7 days a week during opening times, 4pm to 1am.

No, not at the moment – the scheme’s only available at MyLahore Bradford Delivery at 348 Great Horton Road, BD7 1QJ.  We’ll let you know if things change.

We can only refund deposits on reusable containers that are complete with their lids and on which you paid a deposit.

The delivery driver only has limited space for container collections so the maximum number of containers we can collect in one go is 20.  We do think that is a lot to keep in your cupboards though!

Unfortunately not – the MyLahore team only looks after food boxes at the moment, so cups need to go back to any café participating in Borrow*.  To find out who they are, just visit the Borrow* website https://greenstreet.org.uk/borrow/ or, if you’re on the high street, look for a Borrow* sticker in the window.

Please! It would be helpful if you’re at home and able to give them a rinse and/or wash before you return them.

Our returnable food boxes and lids can go in a dishwasher or just be rinsed by hand.

When they are returned, MyLahore will take care of washing them thoroughly on site in a commercial dishwasher, ready to be used again.

While our food boxes are built to last for over a hundred uses, accidents can happen. But it’s okay, we’ll still refund your 50p deposit when you return any damaged items, as long as you have both the box and the lid.  If any break, they’re still recyclable!

All the boxes are recyclable and we’ll ensure that all returned damaged  boxes are recycled. 

We’re always looking for new ways to repurpose our packaging items and are currently partnering with Esholt Hall Gardens to turn cups and food boxes with small cracks or discoloration into planters, seedling starter trays and other resources for their community garden project. So even when the food box has reached the end of its life, it can still have a positive impact on the environment. Let’s keep the cycle of sustainability going!

We need complete boxes and lids so please return both to get your deposit back.

If you’d like to swap your boxes for fresh ones with your next takeaway order, we’re happy to do that too but please note that this can only be done with in-store orders. By doing so, you won’t need to pay new deposits unless your next order includes additional boxes, and you’ll still be able to enter the prize draw.

Great – we’d love to hear from you! Just drop us a note at hello@greenstreet.org.uk or message us via Facebook, @We Are Green Street, Instagram @__greenstreet or Twitter @__greenstreet

If you can’t find an answer to your question please email us at hello@greenstreet.org.uk and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

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