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Brittport (UK): Efforts to produce valuables using waste are on the rise in the UK, and these products include cosmetics made from underground coffee grounds, clothing made from the remaining plastic bottles and furniture made from agave fibers.
Drew Wright went through 25 tea and coffee cafes across London daily and first disposed of about 100 kilograms of coffee grounds he had collected for the Up Circle.
Founded six years ago by Anna Friedman and her brother Will, UpCircle makes cosmetics using coffee grounds, chamomile tea, olive kernel powder and other “waste” beverages.
They both held leadership positions in international companies early in their careers, but “I wanted to do something closer to my aspirations,” Anna tells AFP.
He adds, “The idea for ‘Up Circle’ came up when my brother eagerly asked what the cafe that comes up every day does. He was surprised to learn that these leftovers are being sent to landfills. It pays off.”
Since then, Anna and her brother have been known as the “crazy brothers who gather coffee grounds in London”.
“People started calling us about all sorts of waste,” he says, and “we currently use 15 ingredients,” leftovers of fruit juice concentrated water, withered bouquets of roses thrown away by vendors and boiling spices and herbs.
Will and Anna pay for some items, but not for coffee grounds, for example, the process of collecting them is complicated and expensive.
Annually 500,000 tons of coffee grounds are dumped over UK territory, and UpCircle is proud to have recycled 400 tons to date.
Anna says that Anna and her brother have consulted with senior experts in the field of cosmetics, and their response has been that cosmetics are not compatible with waste.
The owner of the project hopes that everyone will realize that “these products are not disgusting or polluting.”
“Young people in particular are very open to the idea of a circle economy,” he notes, reusing products and materials, “because they are more interested in the future of the planet.”
Barbara Scott-Atkinson, a chemist responsible for creating up-circle products, says that ground coffee is better for making cosmetics than green coffee “because it is heated, moisturized and has high antioxidants.”
All items collected are shipped to the company’s factory in Brittport, three hours’ southwest London.
The site smelled of citrus essential oils, an ingredient in scrubs made that day. The preparation method of this product is simple.The coffee grounds are mixed with sugar and essential oils, then shea butter and a natural preservative are added.
The mixture is stored in glass containers and distributed throughout the UK at a rate of 3,000 units per week.
Demand for this specialty has grown significantly as a result of recent corporate scandals, especially in the United States.
Growing demand is leading to the emergence of numerous companies competing with “Up Circle”, which recycle food waste, including “Wildfruit”, Australia’s “Frank Bar” and the leading British company “The Body Shop”.
As a result, the demand for coffee waste is particularly high.
Friedman says several cafes have asked UpCircle to share the grounds “with another company that wants to get this waste”.
As the planet’s resources dwindle, entrepreneurs and designers around the world are finding new ways to produce valuable products from a variety of wastes.
The recent West Edge Exhibition at the London Design Museum showcases the re-use of agave fiber to design ladies tables, benches or combos by designer Fernando Lapos, trained at the prestigious Central St. Martin’s Institute of Art.
These waste clothes were designed by Stella McCartney and entitled “Waste Age: What Can Be Designed?” Featured in the exhibition. At the Museum of Design in London.
He uses multi-colored corn cobs from his native Mexico to design the varnish, along with other inventions that fuel the circular economy by creating local jobs.
In the UK, 15% of waste is recycled and the rest is incinerated or dumped.
Considering the enormous nature of mankind’s plastics and chemicals, scientists have urgently called for production limits. On March 2, the United Nations in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, approved a policy to conclude a “legal” international agreement to combat environmental pollution caused by plastic waste, which threatens global biodiversity.
Other inventions include chairs made from old refrigerators, sneakers adorned with fishing nets recovered from the sea, pieces made from paper cups used for furniture or hot drinks, and designs using recycled plastic bottles.
About 2.5 billion non-recyclable plastic cups are thrown away in the UK alone each year.
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