• Ankit Singhal

Close the Loop on Coffee - Recycling Coffee Ground Waste for making eco-friendly cups

Updated: May 5, 2020

This Germany-based startup is collecting coffee ground waste from coffee shops and restaurants, recycling them to make eco-friendly cups, putting coffee waste to good use

You have an important project deadline coming up, and you just can’t control the recurring yawn. Now what comes to our mind that would help us to focus and complete the project within the deadline? Yeah! Coffee, you guessed that right. Coffee is our daily companion which energizes us to enable us to do our daily activity. But sadly, it is also the very source that sucks life out of earth.

At least 400 billion cups of coffee are consumed worldwide each year, producing at least eight million tons of coffee grounds. Now the problem with these coffee grounds is that they are discarded as waste in landfills which degrade to emit methane, a greenhouse gas which is 34 times more potent than Carbon dioxide (CO2). Now here is the need to close the loop, putting coffee ground waste to good use and make coffee waste a sustainable, recyclable, environmental friendly raw material for other products.

Coffee ground waste could be used in a lot of ways as raw materials; some environmental conscious companies are utilizing coffee grounds to product products made of coffee grounds. One such company is Kaffeeform, a German company which makes biodegradable, reusable coffee cups made of coffee grounds and other renewable materials. Coffee could also enter the plastic and paper supply chain where about 600 billion plastic and paper cups could be replaced to some extent by these coffee cups. This is beneficial to the environment in multiple ways: one - coffee ground waste is getting utilized; two – we are reducing use of paper and plastic in manufacturing billions of cups every year for which trees are cut and oceans are chocked; three – organizations don’t have to spend money in dumping coffee waste and rather would be generating a new industry around coffee ground waste collection, a perfect example of a circular economy.

This just does not end here, one could add coffee ground waste to anything and everything. You could add it to cement, use to color ceramics using ancient pit firing technique and what not. A lot of companies are getting into coffee ground waste collection and distributing it to appropriate manufacturers who convert the waste into a raw material hereby making coffee more sustainable. Last piece of information about coffee consumption, this article was not written without a cup of coffee being consumed.

©2020 by Guardian of Environment.