Innovation That Matters

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Creating sustainable chemicals and products with coffee waste

Springwise ChangeNOW

A Polish startup is on a mission to make the lifecycle of coffee beans more planet-friendly, and reduce emissions in the process

Spotted: It is estimated that 6 million tonnes of coffee grounds are sent to landfills each year, where they create methane – a greenhouse gas that has a greater impact on global warming than carbon dioxide. 

Now, a technology company from Warsaw, EcoBean, has created a spent coffee grounds collection service that processes waste into green raw materials and products. By doing this, the startup is extending the coffee value chain and making it more sustainable by introducing a circular economy. For every tonne of coffee ground waste that is collected by EcoBean, this service prevents 600 kilogrammes of carbon dioxide from being emitted. 

EcoBean processes coffee waste into raw materials, including coffee oil, coffee lignin, lactic acid, and protein feed additives, with a focus on zero-waste production. With these green raw materials, EcoBean has developed a range of circular and sustainable coffee-based products.  

These usable and recyclable products include EcoBean Flowerpots and EcoBean Straws. The company has also partnered with Dutch startup You Lucky Bird (YLB) to create the You Lucky Bird eco-friendly cups, which are 100 per cent recycled – made from coffee waste and other vegetable-derived materials. As well as supporting the circular economy, every Lucky Cup purchase also helps support small-scale coffee farmers in Ethiopia. EcoBean also partners with other global companies to find ways to reuse spent coffee grounds and create sustainable change.  

By working with EcoBean, brands can be more responsible in terms of waste management and demonstrate CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility). And, the whole coffee waste disposal process can be easily managed on the EcoBean app. 

EcoBean is not the only innovation making use of coffee waste. Springwise has spotted Japanese footwear company that uses coffee grounds to make vegan footwear. Meanwhile, a Vietnamese designer has also developed a leather alternative made using coffee waste.

Written By: Anam Alam



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