Eco-friendly coffee time: A project to minimize the use of disposable coffee cups has started in Lviv

Eco-friendly coffee time: A project to minimize the use of disposable coffee cups has started in Lviv

A series of experiments has started in Lviv to test ecological alternatives to disposable coffee cups. The Zero Cup initiative was launched by the NGO Zero Waste Lviv in cooperation with the UNDP’s Accelerator Lab in Ukraine.

The initiative will help to test environmentally sustainable alternatives to coffee to go and promote eco-friendly methods of consuming your favorite beverage.

Disposable cups have a polyethylene film inside to prevent leakage, so they are difficult to recycle and cannot be composted. And given the scale of the use of disposable tableware, which ultimately litters our cities, water bodies and parks, this problem needs a sustainable environmental solution. 

“Achieving sustainable development requires us to immediately start reducing our environmental footprint by changing our approaches to the production and consumption of goods and resources,” said UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Ukraine Manal Fouani. “Encouraging businesses, in this case coffee shops, and consumers to reduce waste is really an important step, because in this way Ukraine is approaching the goal of introducing more sustainable consumption models by 2030,” added Ms. Fouani. 

Approximately 20% of the public garbage cans content are disposable coffee cups: this showed one of the studies of the NGO Zero Waste Lviv held in one of Lviv’s streets with seven coffee shops. During the pre-quarantine period, one coffee shop sold about 500 cups of coffee a day, and they all ended up in the street litter bins.


Thus, the NGO Zero Waste Lviv decided to conduct experiments having gained support of several Lviv coffee shops and the UNDP’s Accelerator Lab. In particular, customers will be offered several options for environmentally friendly coffee consumption, such as:

  • Get a discount when you bring your own cup or thermos
  • Customers will have a chance to order coffee in an edible cup.
  • The barista will offer those who buy coffee in a disposable cup to come with their cup next time and get a discount.

This will help to choose the most convenient system for making to-go coffee environmentally safe and no less convenient for the residents and guests of Lviv. 

Iryna Myronova, the Executive Director of the NGO Zero Waste Lviv, noted that the city has to spend money on bringing disposable food and beverage tableware, including coffee cups, to landfills. “Because the cups themselves are bulky and light, they quickly fill street litter bins, and as a result, these bins need to be emptied several times a day,” says Ms. Myronova. “It’s nice that some coffee shop owners are aware of the responsibility for the environmental impact of their business and are willing to join in finding solutions that will allow their customers to enjoy coffee to go but not litter the streets.”

The initiative also implies testing a prototype of a mobile application in which you can find a map of establishments participating in the initiative and providing a discount for customers with their own coffee cup, and in the future there will be other features for coffee lovers having their own cup. 

During the experiments, interviewers will work at the locations to collect data from customers and coffee shops employees. This information will be used to analyze the course of the experiments and help to will help to determine the best systems. The interviewers will also find out where disposable cups are usually thrown away. Anyone wishing to join as an interviewer can write to the e-mail of the NGO Zero Waste Lviv indicated in the Contacts section.

The initiative was supported by the Kredens Cafe chain.

If you want to know more about this initiative – visit our social media pages: 

About the organizers:

NGO Zero Waste Lviv is a community established in late 2016 as a volunteer consultation center of the Lviv City Council on issues relating to waste minimization and prevention. It was registered in 2018. The mission of the NGO is to promote the implementation of the zero waste principles in Ukraine by creating an exemplary municipality, Lviv, which will be a role model for the other cities.

UNDP Accelerator Lab in Ukraine is a UNDP global initiative aimed at identifying, developing and disseminating innovative and sustainable solutions for local communities. 60 Accelerator Lab teams work for 78 countries to address pressing developmental challenges of the 21st century.

For media inquiries:

Yuliia Samus, Communications Specialist, UNDP in Ukraine,, +38 044 254 0035

Iryna Myronova, Executive Director of the NGO Zero Waste Lviv,, +38 067 548 6038