How A Company In Berlin Is Turning Coffee Grounds Into Reusable Cups


Narrator: Ah, coffee. It might be the very first
thing you think about in the morning. But what you don’t think about: all the waste that comes along
with that kick of caffeine. In the US alone, 120 billion disposable coffee
cups are used every year. But it’s more than just the
cups and the lids that are creating waste. What about all those
used-up coffee grounds? These reusable mugs are made
from recycled coffee grounds. They’re produced by Kaffeeform,
a Berlin-based start-up. The idea for these ecofriendly
mugs first came about in 2009 when Julian was
studying product design. – We had a lot of coffee
all the time. At some point, I was wondering what
happens with all these spent coffee grounds. Narrator: Germany is one of
the largest coffee-consuming countries in Europe, with the
average person going through about 14 pounds of beans each year. About 99% of paper, plastic,
and foam coffee cups end up in the trash, and once they’re in the trash, even paper cups can take
over 20 years to decompose. So by recycling one waste stream, Kaffeeform helps tackle a bigger one. Every day, a team of cyclists
travel to coffee shops throughout Berlin to
collect used coffee grounds. – Our exposition team wrote
to Kaffeeform in March 2018 that we would be interested
to work with them, and the same day, Julian had a
meeting where they decided to work only with bike logistics,
and when he got home, he found the email of us and
was super excited about it, and it was such a good
coincidence that it had to be. Narrator: Crow Cycle Courier
Collective typically gathers about 110 pounds of
grounds in just one day. – When we pick up the coffee ground, we go to three different
locations, mostly, and that takes about 90 minutes until it’s
dropped off at the workshop. For a courier company,
this is not a usual task. It is something that is pretty unique. Narrator: The collected
grounds are then sorted and then cleaned at Kaffeeform’s workshop. Then, they’re transported
to another facility where they’re dried and
blended with plant fibers, beechwood grains, and natural resins. Once the new coffee-ground
granulate has been mixed together, it gets shaped
under heat and pressure. It takes about 6 cups of
grounds to produce one espresso cup and saucer, resulting in a final product
that’s 40% coffee grounds and 100% biodegradable. – The ultimate goal is just
to highlight the value of recycling and waste
streams back to society. Narrator: Kaffeeform’s cups
and mugs are used in 20 coffee shops in Berlin and
150 vendors across Europe. But the company isn’t
stopping at coffee mugs. Julian hopes to one day shape
coffee grounds into lifestyle products and even furniture pieces.

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