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Caffe Inc.'s new Amsterdam factory will turn coffee grounds into skincare ingredients

Just 1% of a coffee bean makes its way into a cup of coffee. The remaining grounds generally end up as waste, but Caffe Inc. is building a new plant to turn them into valuable raw materials. The startup collects coffee grounds from several locations in the Netherlands, after which it extracts three types of materials.

Coffee oil retains the highest amount of active nutrients and is used in skincare products and cosmetics. Coffee colorant is a natural dye for textiles and could potentially also be made into printer ink. And what's left over is a cellulose-rich material that can be used for furniture panels or paper, in 3D printing and as a soil amendment.

With funding from the Amsterdam Climate and Energy Fund, Caffe Inc. will build a EUR 4 million factory in Amsterdam that, when fully operational, will save as much CO2 as 75.000 trees can absorb.

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Caffe Inc. isn't the first to recycle coffee grounds — they're used to grow oyster mushrooms worldwide, bio-bean runs a recycling plant in the UK, Finnish-Vietnamese Rens Original combines coffee grounds with recycled plastic to create sneaker material... Given the amount of coffee consumed globally, it's no wonder entrepreneurs are coming up with innovative ways to repurpose spent grounds.

As economies shift to a circular mode of working, dedicated recycling plants will be built everywhere, focused on extracting maximal value from specific resources that would otherwise go to waste.

Innovation of the day

Spotted by: Reinier Evers