2.25 billion cups of coffee get consumed per day. Brewing that much coffee generates half a million metric tonnes of used coffee grounds in the UK alone.
Whilst studying at Glasgow’s Strathclyde University, working in hospitality, Fergus Moore and Scott Kennedy saw this waste first-hand. They are now co-founders of Revive Eco, a Glasgow-based company dedicated to ending what they say is a “catastrophic waste of resources”.
Revive Eco have already designed valuable products to improve soil and have now begun pursuing coffee grounds as a viable alternative to palm oil. Moore and Kennedy say their coffee-based oil is environmentally friendly and has potential applications in food, drinks, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals.
Revive Eco have already won awards, including earning founders Fergus and Scott the title of Young Scottish Entrepreneurs of the Year. They were selected as finalists in the 2019 Chivas Venture social start-up awards with a prize fund of 1 million.
What’s Wrong With Palm Oil?
The main controversy surrounding palm oil is its damaging environmental impact. Not only are palm trees themselves cut down when they grow too tall, entire areas of rainforest are cleared in order to establish new palm oil plantations.
To keep up with the high demand for the cheaply produced oil, acres of forest are cut down, leading to loss of habitat for endangered species. Over the past 16 years, palm oil production has led to the death of an estimated 100,000 orangutans.
In a recent interview, Scott spoke about their contribution towards a circular economy. He says, “For me, the circular economy is all about extending the lifespan of a material or product. It’s about eliminating the traditional ‘take, make, dispose’ method of manufacturing and consumption, where obsolescence is effectively built into products. By doing this, we will reduce the volume of landfill”. Revive Eco was born with this in mind: creating something from waste, to prolong its lifespan and shift its purpose.
Examples of Circular Economy
- Levi’s using their old denim to work as insulation for houses
- McDonald’s toys (found within their happy meals) are recycled into playgrounds for children
How Can People Fit The Circular Economy Into Everyday Lives?
It all comes down to minimising your purchases and buying second-hand where possible. Extending the life of objects, to push back the purchase of a new item is critical. For instance, sew up the jumper with a hole in it, instead of purchasing a brand-new jumper. Scott commented on other ways to contribute towards a Circular Economy: visiting zero waste shops, butchers, or green grocers to benefit from minimal plastic on packaging.