Coffee leather is made from waste coffee grounds, mixed with other natural ingredients such as plant matter. Stockholm based product designer Alice Genberg decided to look into the properties of coffee to analyse its potential, sustainability and components. She had been experimenting with the production process of forming coffee beans into leather and deemed it as ‘full circular’.
To make a cup of coffee, less than 1% of the coffee is used in the cup and the remaining 99% goes to waste. The majority of this ends up in landfill sites which adds to carbon emission levels.
Genberg found that the wasted coffee grounds could be collected from cafes - a benefit for them as it would instigate a ‘cost-effective waste disposal’. Once collected, the coffee beans would be thoroughly rinsed, dried and grinded again to ensure they are in the suitable form of a fine dust powder. From this, a binding agent is added to the eco-composite with additives and then pressed into a sheet which can be directly applied to products.
When the product is no longer fit for purpose, it can easily biodegrade (potentially composting for new coffee beans to grow) or be recycled into a new product which would close the loop on the coffee production.