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People are becoming more environmentally aware and recycling is becoming part of life. Plastic bottles are used to make houses and aluminum cans are crushed and reshaped to be used as tubing or to manufacture wires. The furniture industry has not escaped this trend and more and more recycled material is being used.
The main problem manufacturers face is the lack of sustainable material. A company in San Diego, United States, has managed to create a material made from waste cellulose called Ecor, from which dense slabs, reminiscent of cardboard or fiberboard, can be made. They can be made in a variety of sizes or densities, which can then be folded, cut and glued into an array of shapes.
This flexibility makes it useful for hundreds of applications, from making furniture to building construction, binding books or making signs. Because it is composed of cellulose, Ecor can be completely recycled, or completely constructed from recycled materials.
In Great Britain, Adam Fairweather, a designer by trade and an expert in recycling technologies and material development, now develops materials from coffee grounds and uses them to design products including furniture, jewelry and coffee machines.
Fairweather first tackled coffee waste by helping to develop the Greencup scheme, which provides offices around the UK with Fairtrade coffee and then collects their waste coffee to turn it into fertilizer. His new venture, ‘Re-Worked’, works with Greencup, so he has a ready supply of waste coffee grounds and a list of potential clients who may be open to the idea of other products made from their coffee waste.
Google uses Greencup’s service and has bought designer furniture from ‘Re-Worked’, created with a hybrid material made up of 60% used coffee grounds. ‘Re-Worked’ has also teamed up with Sanremo, which uses a material made of 70% coffee grounds for the decorative housing of its Verde coffee machine.