S. Café fabrics incorporate used coffee grounds into clothing

Jon Harper- jbh2175

Problem

Coffee Grounds are an enormous source of organic waste, estimated around 500,000 tonnes per year.  Composting them is one option, but most of them still end up in the trash.  What to do?  One innovative solution has been implemented by S. Café, turning them into apparel! 

Proposed Solution

            S. Café takes the coffee grounds, combines them with a polymer, and creates yarn.  This is used to make fabrics and apparel.  The fabric created dries 200% faster than cotton, blocks UV rays, is odor controlling, and cooling as well.  The odor control function does wear off over time, but the company claims that it lasts longer than you would expect.  The other functions do not wash or wear out.  The fabric itself can be produced with little energy.  Some of their fabrics also incorporate used plastic bottles as the source for the polymer.

Stakeholders

Potential stakeholders are used coffee ground producers, the garment industry, and of course consumers. 

Coffee ground producers usually have to pay to have their refuse taken away, and coffee grounds are a heavy, wet kind of waste.  If another company saw them as a resource and picked them up for free, this would save them money and would be worth their effort to separate the used grounds for pickup. 

The garment industry is always looking for new fabrics, and the sustainability aspect of this clothing will likely mean that they can sell it at a higher cost than other fabrics, which will support the additional costs of creating it in the first place.

Consumers benefit because this is a very useful fabric!  Also, any diverted and recycled waste helps all of us and the global environment.

Deployment/Implementation

  1. S. Café currently produces seven different kinds of fabric using these techniques.  They have been winning awards with them, but more needs to be done to encourage their adoption into apparel.
  2. Marketing campaigns for consumers need to be more professional, and show both the sustainability and other advantages of the fabrics.
  3. A coffee-ground-collection network could also be combined with this advertising, so the coffee shops involved could advertise their efforts towards sustainability as well.

Sources

2 thoughts on “S. Café fabrics incorporate used coffee grounds into clothing

  1. Interesting idea. Wonder if they can be competitive with nature’s process (i.e., cotton, silk) ? That means they need to scale. Ground cafe is mostly carbon, along these lines, what else can it be used for? Making biofuels? Other materials? etc.
    zg2397

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  2. This is a great idea. The yarn has many positives like odor control, UV protection and needs little energy to manufacture the yarn. It looks that it would be perfect for the activewear industry. My only concern is the cost. How expensive would it be to manufacture a similar garment using a different fabric (cotton)? I don’t think most consumers are willing to pay more for sustainability products, even though they say so.

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