Coffeefrom: processing coffee grounds into a durable and resistant alternative to single-use plastic
Coffeefrom is an innovative project from Italy. It has built a supply chain based on the recovery and processing of industrial coffee grounds. Coffee grounds from the food industry are blended with biopolymers to become a new bio-based material produced entirely in Italy: Coffeefrom. It is a durable and resistant alternative to single-use plastic, produced in collaboration with Milan polytechnical university and companies in the supply chain.
Huge amounts of grounds are recovered, and the project therefore reduces the substantial management and environmental costs associated with the food industry. Coffeefrom is the second circular economy project run by Il Giardinone Cooperativa Sociale. Thanks to the exchange of skills and knowledge within the supply chain, the project will also be able to develop different compounds from waste coffee.
The first industrialised product is a cup and saucer made from coffee grounds, certified as food safe and with a sophisticated design. Coffeefrom puts the principles of extended producer responsibility (EPR) to good use, thanks to a virtuous model of industrial symbiosis. The project has solid social foundations: with its circular economy projects, Il Giardinone has a positive social impact by integrating fragile and disadvantaged people, as well as working closely with other social enterprises.
- Reduction of CO2 emissions from landfilling coffee grounds
- reduction of logistics and waste management costs
- skills promotion: the businesses and individuals involved acquire new skills by integrating an organic waste into production processes
- social impact: disadvantaged individuals are involved in project-related activities and other local social enterprises are brought into supply processes
- Coffeefrom is innovative in terms of both its process and business model: it provides a response to four of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals: sustainable consumption and production; decent work and economic growth; industry, innovation and infrastructure; and partnerships for the goals.