Vancouver's First Zero Waste Cafe
Lupii Café is a zero waste, community café in Champlain Heights, Vancouver. The owners, Lisa and Daniel Papania, had a vision to open Vancouver’s first zero waste coffee shop, which would also be a vibrant, community-oriented space.
Today, this vision is a reality. Lupii Café truly is zero waste: “At lupii cafe you won’t find anything disposable – our takeout containers are mason jars and resuable upcycled cloth napkins – you won’t be throwing anything away. In addition, our store has been built from the ground up with reused materials.”
Not only are the products they use zero waste, but so too is the food they serve: “Lupii cafe prioritizes sourcing local produce that is perfectly healthy and delicious but may end up in the landfill due to industry requirements regarding size/shape or arbitrary sell-by dates. Lupii cafe is also a proud member of the slow food movement.”
Deeply involved in their local community as well, they host community events (including Repair events by Repair Matters) and often fundraise for charitable organizations. They also support local upcyclers, stop by the café and you will find them carrying many products by local artists that are made from reclaimed materials. These include some familiar local upcyclers like the Woodshop Workers Coop, Kicks a Roo!, and TwentySix Metals.
The interior and furnishings were designed in collaboration with Basic Design. Jesi, Founder of Basic Design comments, “At the end of the day, we diverted at least two truckloads of viable materials from the landfill, transforming the would-be waste into a large cash desk, tables, chairs, benches, signage and more to create a warm, vibrant and welcoming space for the Champlain Heights community.”
The materials they used started with a gymnasium floor that Basic Design had recently salvaged from a community centre in East Vancouver. This was to be the feature material that everything was based around, and when made into counter tops and tables, the colorful stripes and high gloss give the café that vibrant feel the owners had envisioned. The design evolved organically from that with laminated plywood display cases that were salvaged from a Lulu Lemon store, by Debrand services. These became cabinetry and the offcuts were turned into the fun and unique plywood edge coffee table and shelving.
Jesi remarks, “When [Lisa] approached us for Lupii Cafe, it was a dream job for us. We evolved from producing small upcycled textile accessories to implementing large scale, high impact furniture projects because of Lupii Cafe.” Since then, Basic Design has been working on more projects of this scale, including the Capilano Teahouse and an ongoing collaboration with Haeccity Studio in the renovation of a cambie apartment building.
They also are incredibly involved in their local community an frequently offer their mentorship to students wishing to venture into the upcycling world. Make sure you follow them and check out what their latest projects are!