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Student brews up a ‘Flat White’ after creating range of glasses made from coffee grounds.

Glass frames made from coffee waste by University of Dundee student Ryan Davren. © University of Dundee.

“Because they look a bit different, they promote conversation about what they are made of and this serves to highlight the environmental issues in our culture.”

A student from Scotland-based University of Dundee (@dundeeuni) has developed a frame for glasses made from waste coffee grounds and flax seeds.

Product design student Ryan Davren, 24, developed his brand ‘Flat White’ whilst working as a part-time barista in a city café. He said he was astonished about the coffee grounds that were sent to landfill and not recycled.

“We live in a society that is fuelled by coffee but responsible for producing waste. Every time I make a cup of coffee, a hockey-puck-size of compressed coffee is produced,” Davren said.

He added: “It is a hard material to recycle and that is when I decided I would try and attribute some value to it by turning it in to frames for glasses. So far, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. These first pairs are produced by myself in a workshop, but there is no reason why they could not be mass produced.”

Davren made the frames by mixing waste coffee grounds with flax seed. The University of Dundee said: “As well as creating the bonding effect necessary to cast the frame, the distinctive speckle effect means that every pair of Flat White glasses is unique in appearance.”

According to Davren, the material is castable and is very similar to wood to work with. The frames retain an organic smell, but do not smell of coffee, Davren said.

“The face is prime real estate and glasses are always a good conversation starter,” he continued.

“Because they look a bit different, they promote conversation about what they are made of and this serves to highlight the environmental issues in our culture.”

Around 95 million cups of coffee are consumed every day in the UK, generating vast amounts of sums of coffee grounds. Currently, the majority of this waste goes to landfill.

Many companies are now trying to extract commercial value from used coffee grounds otherwise considered as waste.

Turning waste into fuel

Bio-bean is one UK company trying to do this and turning coffee waste into fuel. It recently secured £4 million in equity funding with the help of investment bank ClearlySo to launch new product lines and expand internationally.

Speaking about bio-bean in 2016, founder Arthur Kay said: “There is a massive market out there that is currently ripe for disruption. Currently, the traditional fuels that are used in fireplaces like coal are dirty and mainly imported. We have this sustainable, locally-manufactured product to sue, which is much better than using coal and wood.”

Bio-bean is not the only company in the UK that had the idea to recycle coffee and use it as a resource. Scottish startup Revive Eco is also recycling waste. Revive Eco is aiming to go global with their hope of to replace palm oil using coffee waste.

Scott Kennedy and Fergus Moore are honing a chemical technique that extracts oils from used coffee grounds. In a similar situation to Davren, the two men first got the idea to use coffee waste oil when they were working in cafes during their time in college.

According to Kennedy and Moore, the bulk of café waste was made up of used coffee grounds and rather than letting this resource go to waste, they developed a method of using the coffee ground oil as a substitute for palm oil.

Are you interested in reading more about waste coffee-based stories? If yes, please read more stories on coffee-based products below?

Read: UK firm bio-bean secures £4m to boost product lines and expand internationally.

Read: Coffee fuels people and now its waste is an exciting new bio-based resource.

Read: bio-bean’s collaboration with Caffè Nero could help power homes and cars in the future.

Read: Fabrics made from coffee grounds and castor beans among bio-based innovations at the Outdoor Show.

Visit: SynBio Markets (Berlin, 18-19 November 2019) 

NEW!: And available to download issue #13 of the Bio Market Insights Quarterly

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