Scottish startup Revive Eco has devised a way to extract oil from used coffee grounds that can replace palm oil.
Revive Eco founders Scott Kennedy and Fergus Moore are aiming to go global with their hope to replace palm oil using coffee waste.
The pair first got the idea to use coffee waste oil when they were working in cafés during their time studying business at Glasgow’s Strathclyde university.
In the UK, 55 million cups of coffee are drank each day, leading to over half a million tonnes of coffee grounds being generated and wasted.
Having seen first-hand the amount of waste generated in the hospitality industry, Scott Kennedy and Fergus Moore decided to come up with a solution. “We became sick and tired of seeing more and more coffee grounds being needlessly sent to landfill,” the Revive Eco founders said. “We set out with the simple ambition of finding a use for coffee beyond the usual morning pick-me-up and bringing new life to what was previously viewed as waste. We strive to radically change mindsets, and show that materials can still possess huge value, even after being used for their primary purpose.”
The company is developing a process to extract and purify the oils found in coffee waste, which could then be used in products such as cosmetics, food, and pharmaceuticals.
Economical and versatile, palm oil has become the world’s most widely used vegetable oil. It’s found in many household products – soap bars, crisps, biscuits, candles, and skin creams, to name but a few. But the dependence on palm oil has devastating effects on carbon emissions and wildlife habitat, particularly in Indonesia.
Revive Eco co-founder Fergus Moore told BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland programme: “The most exciting part for us is that they [oils found in coffee waste] have all the same components as palm.
“Palm oil’s in the news for all the wrong reasons. It’s really exciting for us that we could potentially provide a local and more sustainable alternative to all the industries that are currently using palm oil.”
The circular company has already received £235,000 of funding from Zero Waste Scotland. The company is also in the running for a share of a £776,000 as they represent Scotland and Northern Ireland in the Chivas Venture competition.
Revive Eco are hoping to have the process of extracting and purifying the oils found in coffee waste up and running in Glasgow by next summer.
Fergus Moore added: “Longer term, we want to build the business to a place where we can franchise into different countries and replicate the business model elsewhere.
“We’d rather build a new process in Rome, Paris, Berlin – any other big coffee-drinking cities [around] the world.”
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about sustainable lifestyle and green living for publications, and offers content services to planet-friendly businesses. Find out more at Rosamedea.com