Second Life of Coffee: Recycling Coffee Grounds into Something New
We love coffee a LOT but there is always a bit of a quirky feeling about the waste left over from our favorite beverage. It is degradable so that is one solution but would there be something else to use it for. There is a theory that people around the world get the same ideas simultaneously, so I figured out that probably other people are struggling with this as well. I found a few very clever companies using coffee grounds for new products. Here are my favorites and don’t hesitate to comment below if you find something even more fascinating.
Nat-2 recently launched its Coffee Line, which features unisex sneakers made with coffee remains. The brown sneakers are 100 percent vegan, made from recycled coffee beans, coffee plants, and recycled coffee grounds. They also say that each pair has a sent of coffee, so you can memorize your favorite caffeine drink.
CUPS and mugs
There is a nice circle of life in this one. Another German innovation for the coffee grounds is from a company called Kaffeeform, coffee cups, mugs and saucers made out of used coffee grounds. They started back in 2009 after countless espresso and experiments they came up with the prototype. The dishes are durable, light and dishwasher safe.
MUSHROOMS AND FUNGUS
Our trainer Martin is really an expert when it comes to the coffee ground mushrooms, but here is few examples of using the coffee grounds as a base for the fungus. It takes few weeks to grow them and you can use the same batch of coffee various times. Mushrooms are edible and fresh after picking but you can also dry them and use later.
Here are some of the companies providing growing kits:
There are a few really cool artists out there using coffee as paint but artist Fernando Mosca is actually using the grounds for his art. He has done art projects related to coffee for years already but back in 2009 he decided to try using the grounds as material for a painting and ever since he has created new and wonderful stuff out of this substance.
To bind the materials together he uses mixture of egg tempura, flour and water for glue, recycled coffee sacks as the canvas and recycled timber boards for the backing. So he really has covered all bases of his project with coffee related recycling.
LAMPS and LIGHT TO YOUR HOUSE
Melbourne based designer Raúl Lauri wanted to create something multisensory from the coffee grounds after he felt that many aspects of life are related to coffee and coffee moment so we should cherish also what is left from the delish cup of coffee. So he started endless experiments and explorations and came up with Decafé, a company that makes multiple household objects from coffee grounds. They are most known for their lamps but they also make other objects such as candlesticks and vases.
The manufacturing process is a secret, but what they tell about it is, that the coffee grinds are first blended with a binding substance and then secondly heated and pressed to a solid form in the desired shape. Sounds pretty amazing! A lamp that has the scent of coffee and the feel of the grounds plus the super cool design.
Read more from Less Waste by Design
PRINTING AND 3D PRINTING
3Dom is a company using coffee for the 3D printing material. They say you can use any 3D printer that uses the normal PTA plastics and I think the compound looks quite nice and very coffee like. Unfortunately the compounds can’t be used for hot liquids so you can’t print your own coffee mug out of this bio plastic. But still a very cool innovation I would say. If you want to order some for your printer, you can do it from here.
This is a very peculiar (or brilliant, can’t really decide) one in my opinion. There is a plan to convert coffee grounds into ink used in printers called Riti Coffee Printer. Original idea came due to the fact that current printers are very material consuming and most of the parts are disposed after using. So the coffee printer would tackle the waste problem and help you to get rid of your coffee grounds at home. Currently there isn't any company making these printers yet, but let’s cross our fingers for hasty product development.
Re-work is a non-profit design and product manufacturing company that uses coffee grounds and used plastic to create a new material called Çurface. Adam Fairweather, the founder of Re-worked, has develop the plastic and coffee ground bio composite that is durable, nice to touch and also has a coffee aroma.
The final Çurface materials are 99 percent recycled content, and the last 1 % consists of fire retardant and a natural pigment. Re-worked launched Çurface commercially in 2011 and has since developed many items such as chair and tables.
Read more from Inhabitat.com.
This one is super interesting as it is something all of us use every day. The Taiwanese company called Singtex / S. Café is providing us with cool clothes that have additional benefits such as deodorizing properties. They use patented process to recycle used coffee grounds into yarn, which is then made into fabrics that are resist to odors and even UV rays. This is due to fact that roasted coffee has natural deodorizing properties, so the fabric made from coffee yarn works really well in athletic wear.
THE SALVATION OF OUR PLANET
The last one is probably the most compelling and maybe my personal favorite. Well you choose for yourself;
Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology in South Korea discovered that by modifying and using coffee grounds to capture carbon, the new product can provide a simple, cheap way to remove harmful greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Scientists have developed the new material by steeping used coffee grounds (100 percent Colombian coffee, dark roast, fine ground) in a potassium hydroxide solution and heating the resulting mixture to 65 °C and then stirring the mixture for 24 hours. The mixture is then dried in an oven at 100 °C and then finally transferred to an argon-atmosphere furnace where it is subjected to temperatures of 700-900 °C to activate its carbon-capture properties.
Researchers say that the new material may also capture and store methane from the atmosphere in that – after it has absorbed its fill – it could then be used as a fuel itself with much cleaner-burning properties than other fossil fuels.
You can read the whole study from here.