Uses for Coffee Grounds – The Sustainable Way

By: | Updated: April 13, 2021

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Talk about sustainability and creating a positive impact to our environment. This German company has figured out uses for coffee grounds that really make sense. 

German company Kaffeeform recycles some of the 8 million kilos of daily excess of used coffee grounds in Europe to produce coffee cups and more. They collect the used coffee grounds from local coffee shops and bakeries to make their products.

Photocourtesy @Kaffeeform

We’ve seen many uses for coffee grounds such as body scrubs, shampoo, facial masks etc. But while these uses are one time things only, Kaffeeform really sets the bar high. 

So how do they do it? Millions of kilos of used coffee grounds end up in our garbage every day.

German product designer Julian Lechner felt this was such a waste and there had to be a better way to make use of these coffee grounds. The result of this was Kaffeeform, a Berlin based company that produces coffee cups, take away cups and saucers from dried coffee grounds.

Going through various trial and error phases that ended in the cups getting dissolved during dishwashing, the company finally found a composition that would stand the test. 

In 2014, they found the perfect formula by blending grounds with wood grains and a biopolymer of cellulose, lignin, and natural resins.

kaffeeform Photocourtesy @Kaffeeform

“The moment of knowing the cup would actually stand was super-exciting,” Julian recalls. “After such a long time, you have to really believe in an idea and that it can eventually work. It was overwhelming to drink that first coffee out of the cup. It proved to be totally worth the wait.” “The cups even still smell like coffee”, he adds. 

The wait, trial and error was apparently worth it. Today the company can’t keep up with production and is routinely sold out. Their products are available in their web-shop here as well as in several retail outlets across Europe.

But that’s not all. They manufacture everything in house in a “sheltered workshop” giving jobs to hundreds of disabled people. 

Kaffeeform cooperates with an organization called Mosaik Berlin, which pairs up small businesses with workers who are mentally and physically disabled, providing them with pay and job experience.

Grounds are  collected in the morning from three roasters in Berlin and brought to Mosaik’s headquarters. There, they’re dried and compressed for two hours in a special oven by workers, and then packaged up into 400-kilogram bags.

Photocourtesy @Kaffeeform

From there, the grounds are shipped to a factory in another German state, where they’re mixed with wood grains, biopolymers, and all the natural fibers to create the final product. 

Features include:

  • Durable
  • Lightweight
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Recycable
  • Food grade safe

Around six servings of grounded coffee are used for 1 cup.  The company says they hope to create larger products made out of the composition in the future. They are currently working on larger cups as well as a travel mug. 

While their products are not yet available in the US, you can order them from their website and choose international shipping. 

Creating a positive impact on the environment and a “feel-good” when customers purchase their products certainly gives this company a bright future. 

by Brett