How bio-bean Makes Coffee Ground Into a Sustainable Raw Material
In order to further process the normally unused waste product coffee grounds, the coffee recycling company bio-bean has invented the material Inficaf. This recycled waste product processes coffee grounds, which in turn can be reused in many ways and used as a sustainable alternative material.
Everywhere in the world people drink coffee. Worldwide, this accounts for more than 2 billion cups of coffee a day! At the same time, the caffeine drink produces 6 million tons of coffee grounds as a waste product every year. It usually ends up in landfills or anaerobic digestions and is not consumed further. On rare occasions, coffee grounds can also find use in private households as fertilizer in one’s garden, as cleaning products or for homemade beauty products. Coffee recycling company bio-bean, however, has now come up with Inficaf, a way to process and use spent coffee grounds.
What is Inficaf and What is it Used For?
Bio-bean may not have been the first to think of reusing coffee grounds, but their idea of Inficaf is both new and innovative. Almost all ideas to reuse coffee grounds are on a small scale since one challenge of this concept is to have enough usable coffee grounds. In fact, the waste product only becomes usable when moisture and contaminants are removed from it. To prepare coffee grounds for industrial use, bio-bean has invested a lot in the research and development of its supply chain and technology. Thanks to this effort, bio-bean can now process over 7,000 spent grounds into Inficaf per year.
Inficaf is a raw material that can be used for many different applications as it can be used instead of virgin or synthetic materials, for example for new commercial or industrial applications. In order to produce the sustainable material, the company collects spent coffee grounds from UK-based businesses, including those that have high coffee turnovers such as coffee shops or airports. In the first step, the collected waste product is processed and dried in the company’s factory, before being sieved and packaged for further use in the next step.
After that, Inficaf can be utilized as a raw or virgin material in a variety of fields. For example, in automotive manufacturing for the production of automotive frictions or in the cosmetics sector as an exfoliant and in the textile industry as bio-based inks or fibers. It is a sustainable raw material that can be used as a plant-based polymer or as well as a substitute for traditional mineral filters. Since coffee grounds can also be used in 3D printing, Inficaf can also be put to beneficial use in this important new printing area.
Inficaf’s Positive Impact on The Environment
There are four particular characteristics that Inficaf benefits from. First, Inficaf can be dried to the desired dryness it requires for various purposes. Second, Inficaf is processed to uniform particle size, moisture content and bulk density, which also makes it more suitable for further processing.
As mentioned before, since Inficaf is recycled from a waste product, it helps to counteract the problem of waste production. In addition to the previously mentioned practical advantages, Inficaf’s two other properties are also important for the sustainability aspect, since it not only reduces emissions but also replaces non-nearby materials. Furthermore, it offers product developers, designers, and manufacturers the chance to reduce their own waste and greenhouse gas emissions. All of these points are important steps towards sustainability.
Creating Something New From Waste
But bio-bean is not the first to use waste to produce something new from it and thereby protect the environment. For instance, while gymnastic shoes are made from fishing nets, old plastic bottles and other garbage from the sea, the Zero Waste Lab transforms plastic waste into multifunctional pieces of furniture. Besides paper made from food scraps, mussel shells can also be further processed, for example as material for 3D printing.
As you can see, there are many ways to process and reduce waste. We are definitely looking forward to seeing what other innovative ideas the future will bring. Maybe you know of other projects that are similar to Inficaf? Feel free to tell us more about them in the comments!