More and more, we’re seeing brilliant uses for household items once discarded as trash. You will never look at coffee grounds the same way after seeing the furniture, jewelry, and coffee machine housings that Adam Fairweather has brought to life using humble coffee waste.
The UK designer, who has become an expert in recycling technologies, started exploring the idea of using coffee grounds to create new materials ten years ago when Starbucks began opening stores in Britain. He wanted to find a way to unlock the value inherent in these steamy, brown leftovers.
“The idea that it already had this high value but we only use a little of it, that was interesting because I felt that there was a way of tapping into this perceived high value the product has intrinsically,” he told the Guardian.
The initial result was Greencup. The service delivers organic, Fairtrade coffee to offices, caterers and restaurants around the UK. Then, it collects the coffee waste and recycles it into valuable fertilizer.
With access to such a supply of coffee waste, Fairweather, an inventor at heart, envisioned the creation of more products. He opened an industrial design and manufacturing nonprofit, called Re-worked.
The Guardian reports that after Google began using Greencup’s closed-loop coffee service, it purchased furniture from Re-Worked that was made from a hybrid material comprised of 60% coffee grounds. Jeweler Rosalie McMillan has mixed the same material with gold and silver to create designer bangles. Sanremo has used a concoction of 70% coffee grounds to create a decorative housing for its Verde coffee machines.
Fairweather hopes to scale the process of making materials from coffee waste, but only if he can remain true to his vision of a fair trade “circular business”.
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