Coffee Ground Lab

Petr Vanek, 2016





“What happens with the rest of the coffee that remains on the bottom of your daily cup of espresso?” This question motivated Petr Vanek to take a closer look at coffee waste. Food waste is one of the biggest components of our municipal waste. More than 93% of coffee grounds end up in landfill. The remaining 7% are used as fuel, biopolymer, in cosmetology, for growing mushrooms, for making paper, and for planting. In one average café in Basel, customers drink about 150-300 cups of espresso daily, which produces about 5 kg of waste. Most cafés just dispose of it as common garbage, even though coffee grounds are a valuable material. 

The goal of this project is to use discarded coffee grounds to develop a fully biodegradable material that is recyclable and can be easily broken down in nature. To this end, Petr Vanek established the brand Coffee Ground Lab, which will focus on sustainable products from coffee waste. The brand’s first product is a planting kit. It consists of a planting cup which is sealed with a wooden lid and contains seeds according to what the customer wants. The cup can be inserted directly into the soil, supports the growth of flow-ers and protects them against insects and slugs. The planting kit could appeal to people living in cities who plant their own food, and also might interest bigger horticultural and gardening centres. Within the framework of the Coffee Ground Lab, material experiments will be carried out to determine the best combination of materials. At the same time, relationships between cafés and urban gardens will be maintained in order to support local businesses and a zero-waste philosophy.

planting kit
coffee grounds