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The happy ending of coffee grounds: Coffeefrom story

Fondi di caffè esausti - materiali bio based - Coffeefrom

Everyday almost 2.6 billion of coffee cups are consumed around the world. But what we see and taste is just the last stop of a long adventure, full of ancient anecdotes and folk tales. During the 15th Century, thousands of seedlings that some time before found fertile soil in the Far East land in Egypt. Across the east coast of the Red Sea, the inhabitants meet to taste the beverage obtained by grinding seeds: coffee. Under the dark liquid surface there is a co-protagonist, whose story is quite unknown and his closing scene takes place in the landfill: coffee ground. One thing is certain: our coffee grounds story has a happy ending. Let’s find out together in this new article.

Changing the course

We are in a bar and we ask for a cup of coffee. The barman starts his ritual: he empties the coffee waste in the collection box and refills the press.

But where do coffee grounds go?

Every day, at the end of the day, coffee grounds are collected to be disposed in the landfill. It is estimated that every year in Italy 200.000-300.000 tons of coffee grounds are produced, which means 45.000 kilos per day. Under these tons of coffee, there are also high management costs for 21 million euros and 131.400 tons of COreleased.

Actually, besides bars and restaurants, those figures concern food industries, vending and collective catering too, which deal with a significant coffee waste volumes and plastics use.

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How can we reduce management costs and how can we change the course of the end-of-waste cycle?

With the aim of transforming the traditional life cycle of products into new valuable resources and promote a zero-waste philosophy, circular economy represents an important change in business model, supply chain and consumption habits. Big corporates are asked to push innovation through the action of subcontractors; these ones are able to encourage the transition and the rethinking of resources putting in place the Extended Producer Responsibility policy. In other words, what for a company represents a process waste, for other realities it is a new opportunity to be valued.

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The first stop of the journey is bio-based

The story to which we have given voice today therefore has a happy ending. When the journey of coffee grounds seems to come to an end, for us it represents a new beginning.

Coffeefrom comes from the intersection of past experiences, present needs and future visions.

With Fungo Box experience, in 2015 we met coffee grounds with an urban origin, mainly from local bars. Through the addition of cellulose and mycelium in household kits, Pleurotus mushrooms were born from coffee, according to urban agriculture principles. Over time, our zero-waste vision has embraced the principles of industrial symbiosis, where the exchange of resources and skills between different partners is the beating heart of an entire activity.

Today we act to change the end-of-waste (the end-of-life waste) of tons of coffee waste from the industry, with the aim of transforming them into a new by-product, an innovative bio-based material with infinite expressive possibilities: Coffeefrom.