Every year around 20 million tons of coffee waste is produced and thrown away, polluting our environment. Luckily, coffee grounds are becoming a resource for new composite materials and one of these is part of the Materials Design Map and created by Coffeefrom®, born from the idea of Il Giardinone social enterprise of transforming industrial coffee grounds into new materias.
Il Giardinone’s journey into the circular economy began during Expo 2015. From a research project in collaboration with Lavazza, Novamont and the Polytechnic of Turin, Il Giardinone started to transform coffee grounds for the cultivation of mushrooms. In 2016 Fungo Box, the kit of self-production of fresh mushrooms from coffee grounds of local bars, was launched. Over the years, the know-how in the collection and transformation of coffee waste was strengthened, and brought the company towards a new vision: Coffeefrom®, founded in 2021.
Today the project is an innovative start-up with a social purpose. Starting from coffee grounds, the team develop new recycled and bio-based thermoplastic materials, shaped into innovative application scenarios and design products.
In collaboration with the Department of Chemistry, Materials and Chemical Engineering “Giulio Natta” and Fondazione Politecnico di Milano, Coffeefrom have filed a patent application for the extraction of nanocellulose from coffee grounds and its functionalization for the creation of materials to be used in thermoplastic compoundings. This is a fundamental step towards their goal of creating new raw materials that contain at least 50% of coffee grounds.
In collaboration with the research partners, the team develop thermoplastic materials in which the recycled coffee grounds constitute a new input. Mainly suitable for injection molding, the final pellets adapt to several application contexts, including automotive, tableware, promotional and service products.
Coffeefrom® Bio is the first material developed, composed of coffee grounds of industrial origin mixed with PLA, a biopolymer biodegradable in industrial composting plants. Thanks to its nature, the material is biodegradable, suitable for injection molding and 3D printing in many fields of application. In addition to the Bio version, the team has also created Coffeefrom® Eco, a 100% recycled, flexible and light material, suitable for injection molding and Coffeefrom® Strong, more rigid and compact than the previous ones.
Not only materials but also products: in fact, on the startup’s website it is also possible to find a selection of objects made with the innovative Coffeefrom® materials. The Coffee Cup is part of the Adi Design Index 2022! For more information on the startup, its materials and services, visit the official website and follow the Instagram page!