Designer upcycles coffee waste, sees moral duty to drive circular thinking


In the United Kingdom, designer Atticus Durnell is using waste coffee grounds to create a composite material dubbed That’s Caffeine.

“I was always looking into upcycling in design,” he tells The Financial Times. Durnell collects the waste grounds from three cafes close to his Rochester studio. He then dries the grounds and combines it with biodegradable resins. A setting catalyst is added, after which the material is poured into molds to harden. Graphite dust and turmeric powder help develop different shades.

Products include a stool for £950, as well as bowls and lamps.  “[That’s Caffeine] could be used for almost anything that requires a casing,” he adds. “Televisions or loudspeakers, for example; they use mostly ABS now.”

He believes designers have a moral duty to promote the bioeconomy. “We hold responsibility for what’s on the market,” he says. Manufacturers continue to embrace disposability in production, “but it’s up to designers to educate them. . . sooner rather than later.”