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Unique ways to recycle coffee grounds

Posted by Jos Shimoga on Sep 23, 2016 7:30:00 AM

The whole world is addicted to coffee, let's admit it. However, have you considered how much waste is being created from this global love we have? To put it into perspective, about 2 tablespoons of coffee ground per cup of coffee made is going into the trash. 

Here’s the good news. There are some geniuses out there reusing coffee grounds to make fabulous things. We've listed some of them for you to enjoy. Maybe they will inspire you to make changes in your own cafe.


A whopping 99.8% of the bean becomes coffee ground, which goes straight into the bin. However a Taiwanese company has found a way to turn this waste into clothing.

Singtex sources the coffee grounds for free from cafes around the area and creates all sorts of clothing. Not only do the clothes have no odor or color but Singtex even makes a range of workout wear that is UV protective. Mind blown yet?

Singtex_jeans.jpgPhoto: Clarissa Wei

Coffee Cups

The thought of drinking coffee from a cup that’s made from coffee grounds is crazy. But Kaffeeform is doing exactly that, taking coffee and turning it into reusable, dishwasher-safe cups and saucers. The company has even bigger dreams – to create café furniture with coffee ground sheets, down the track. 

Photo: Kaffeeform

Mushroom Growing Kits

Back To The Roots use coffee grounds in their 'at home mushroom growing kits'. It started off as a dorm-room project between friends, but now the products are stocked in Target, Home Depot and wholefoods. Apparently waste coffee ground is perfect for growing this otherwise unpredictable and difficult fungus. 

backtotheroots.pngPhoto: Back to the Roots  

Fuelling Cars

Bio-bean, a London-based start-up, is turning coffee ground waste into biofuels and biochemicals. Since its humble beginnings in 2013 the company now processes more than 50,000 tonnes of coffee waste a year. With rising issues like climate change, waste management and population growth, innovations like this encourage out-of-the-box thinking. The possibilites are endless.  

bio-bean.jpgPhoto: @Bio_Bean_UK 

What Can You Do? 

A lot of these ideas require money, time and technology to create, but there are so many cost effective and highly beneficial things you can do at your restaurant or café with coffee grounds. Here are some ideas:

  • Use it as compost. Do you have a small herb garden or potted plants around your venue? Turn coffee grounds into compost and give these plants some extra nutrients.
  • Sell the coffee gounds to a company that is making some cool stuff with coffee grounds (even make some spare cash along the way). 
  • Create your own exfoliant, scrub or soap – coffee ground waste is fantastic for beauty products. You can find 1000s of recipes on Pinterest and other beauty blogs
  • Simply package it and give it away to your customers so they can use it as compost in their gardens (maybe grow mushrooms). Like Starbucks:

Starbucks.pngPhoto: Tristen Ferne

Hopefully that gives you some insight into the potential of coffee ground waste and encourages you to think outside the box. 

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Topics: Hospitality operations, Hotels, Hospitality managers, Hospitality staff, Restaurants