A Sustainable Shift Towards Reusable Glasses at Public Events in Liepāja

A Sustainable Shift Towards Reusable Glasses at Public Events in Liepāja

From January 1st, 2026, all public events within the Liepāja City Municipality will bid farewell to the ubiquitous disposable cup, embracing a compulsory system of reusable or deposit glasses. The inaugural test run for this innovative system will take place on May 4th, 2024, during the “Liepāja Footprints in Latvia” orienteering games and in cooperation with vendors.  This event serves as a springboard for the future, allowing Liepāja to refine its approach before the full-scale rollout in 2026.

Being responsible

Public gatherings like festivals and events often leave behind a disheartening trail – a mountain of discarded disposable cups. Regardless of cup material composition, the production process itself consumes precious resources.  Furthermore, once used, these cups pose a significant challenge. Recycling them is often impractical, leaving landfills as their final, and unwelcome, destination.  The environmental cost is a heavy burden, with these single-use items taking hundreds of years to decompose, fragmenting into microplastics that pollute our ecosystems.

Liepāja’s Vision

The concept of disposability is becoming increasingly discordant in a world yearning for a harmonious relationship with the environment.  Liepāja, along with countless cities across Europe and the globe, is committed to striking a new chord.  Through various initiatives, including the reform of public event beverage service, the city aspires to create a symphony of sustainability, where waste becomes a fading melody.  The ultimate goal is a future where plastic and other materials never have the chance to become a discordant note in our ecological ballad.

The Solution

To combat the unnecessary waste generated by disposable cups, Liepāja is encouraging event attendees to embrace reusability.  Either by bringing their own reusable cups or mugs, or using on-site deposit system, which offers reusable glasses or mugs at the event location.

How it Works

The deposit system at the “Liepāja Footprints in Latvia” orienteering games is designed to be as user-friendly as it is environmentally conscious:

• Reusable glasses or mugs will be readily available at beverage outlets.

• There's no additional fee for utilizing these eco-friendly options.

• These glasses can be refilled throughout the event, eliminating the need for multiple disposables.

• To ensure hygiene, simply exchange your used glass for a clean one at the vendor.

• Used glasses are not meant for the trash bin! Return them to the vendor to help maintain a clean and sustainable environment.

• If the reusable glass strikes your fancy, take it home as a memento of your commitment to the cause. Alternatively, by returning it, you contribute directly to reducing waste.

The Glass Rental System Explained

The glass rental system operates on the principle of responsible resource management, offering a significantly eco-friendlier alternative to traditional disposables.  Reusable glasses are typically issued in exchange for a small security deposit. Once used, these glasses are meticulously washed, disinfected, and reintroduced into the system, ready to be filled with refreshing beverages once more.

Customers pay a security deposit for their first glass or mug, exchanging them later for the clean ones once buying the new drinks, thus ensuring the hygiene standards. If you don’t want to have another drink, you will get your deposit back at the vendors or at the designated drop-off. (which depends on the event provider options).

How the Glass Rental System Works

1. When purchasing your first beverage, pay a small security deposit and in exchange, you'll receive a clean, reusable glass.

2. For a clean sip every time, simply swap your used glass for a fresh one at the beverage vendor.

3. Once you’re finished using your glass, return it to the vendor or a designated glass drop-off point.

4. Upon returning your glass, you’ll receive your initial security deposit.

5. You can keep the glass as a memento of your commitment to sustainability. However, in this case, the deposit will not be refunded.


• When renting your glass, pay a small security deposit (typically €1 or €2, as determined by the event organizer). This deposit can be paid in cash or by card, depending on the organizer's preference.

• Upon returning your glass, you'll receive your initial security deposit back in cash. Please note, deposit refunds are only available in cash.

This initiative is part of “Liepāja Smart City Roadmap” project. Funded by the European Union, this project fosters collaboration and knowledge sharing with the city of Valencia, Spain.  

For more information about the “Liepāja Smart City Roadmap” project, please visit the following website: https://www.liepaja.lv/projekti/projekts-liepajas-viedpilsetas-cela-karte-uz-izmainam-versta-mentoresana-zinasanu-apmaina-un-sadarbiba-ar-valensijas-pilsetu/