Used coffee grounds could be a sustainable alternative to palm oil

Signal of change / Used coffee grounds could be a sustainable alternative to palm oil

By Jennifer Revell / 25 Apr 2019

Scotland-based circular company Revive-Eco has introduced an innovative method to extract oil from used coffee grounds.

This oil has similar properties to palm oil and therefore could act as a replacement in many of our household products.

The hospitality industry creates a huge amount of food waste. About 60% of a cafe’s waste is from coffee grounds, and so making oil can transform it into a resource and source of revenue.


So what?

An estimated that the equivalent of 300 football fields of forest is cleared every hour to make room for palm plantations. This causes habitat loss, human rights conflicts and takes key CO2 drawdown forests.

This new innovation provides a sustainable alternative that has the potential to mitigate the effects of palm oil farming.

Furthermore, the annual waste of coffee grounds amounts to more than 500,000 tonnes across the UK alone. Creating an alternative use for used coffee grounds could reduce the amount of methane in the atmosphere that is emitted by food waste.

The details of the process of creating oil from coffee grounds are still in development, therefore it is difficult to know the carbon costs. However, the method will reduce costs for small business who have large waste bills due to the weight of coffee grounds.

Another consideration is scale. Is this innovation a feasible alternative to palm oil that is in so many of our household products? Scaling up the process to become a global practice would require the mass collection of coffee grounds from cafes, is the infrastructure in place to do this? If businesses that use palm oil in their products support this innovation, it has the potential to scale up and have a significant impact on reducing the damaging effects of palm oil farming.




What might the implications of this be? What related signals of change have you seen?

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