Home-grown company that uses coffee grounds to make wood-like panels one of 11 NEA award recipients, Environment News & Top Stories

SINGAPORE – This home-grown firm collects sodden, used espresso grounds from cafes and inns, and turns them into wood-like panels that can be utilized to make furnishings.

The corporate, A1 Surroundings, first removes contaminants from the espresso by-product equivalent to espresso filters. Then, it dries and processes the espresso grounds and mixes them with a binder to allow them to be formed into fire-retardant panels. 

Since 2019, A1 Surroundings has labored with native woodworkers and carpenters to construct furnishings and home goods equivalent to tables and cabinets from the novel materials.

For giving meals waste a brand new lease of life, A1 Surroundings and 10 different corporations acquired the inaugural Meals Useful resource Valorisation Awards on Wednesday (Sept 29).

The awards got out by the Nationwide Surroundings Company (NEA).

Meals useful resource valorisation refers back to the conversion of meals waste into higher-value merchandise. It’s a most popular answer to decreasing meals waste in comparison with turning it to compost or liquid vitamins.

By the top of subsequent yr, when the corporate has scaled up its processes, A1 Surroundings plans to launch its vary of furnishings, gadgets equivalent to flower pots and company items, in collaboration with the woodworkers, mentioned Ms Loh Yen-Lyng, the corporate’s enterprise director.

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Up to now, the corporate has transformed 650 tonnes of outdated espresso grounds into both compost for native farms, or the waterproof, sturdy panels which might be tougher than plywood.

On prime of diverting espresso waste from the landfill, the coffee-based panels can change into an alternate materials to wooden, which signifies that fewer timber could be minimize down, famous Ms Loh.

A number of years in the past, A1 Surroundings needed to develop its enterprise mannequin, and develop the usage of espresso grounds past turning it into compost.

They then labored with an professional from Nanyang Polytechnic to develop a proprietary formulation to transform the used espresso grounds into materials for furnishings.

On profitable the award, A1 Surroundings’s technical director Mohamad Ismail Ibrahim mentioned: “Over 9 years, now we have put in a number of effort in making an attempt to scale back waste. Beforehand we had been working with paper, plastics and different supplies, however now we have moved into espresso… and the suggestions from furniture-makers has been encouraging.

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“The woodworkers and carpenters said the panels’ function and durability surpassed their expectations, and that motivates us to produce the (coffee-based) panels in a larger scale.”


It took over 700 cups of espresso to make the desk. PHOTOS: A1 ENVIRONMENT

Additionally by the top of subsequent yr, the corporate will begin exploring methods to transform different meals waste equivalent to tea leaves and low husks into furnishings and home goods.

One other award recipient, KosmodeHealth, turns spent barley grains into starchless, excessive fibre noodles that trigger no enhance in blood sugar ranges after consumption.

Spent barley grains – a waste product from beer breweries and malt factories right here – are dried and processed into superb protein fibre powder which is formulated into noodles. KosmodeHealth says its noodles have a style and texture near wheat noodles.


KosmodeHealth says its noodles have a style and texture near wheat noodles. PHOTOS: KOSMODEHEALTH

Known as W0W noodle, every 200g pack is bought on-line for $6.60.

KosmodeHealth is presently elevating funds to construct a pilot manufacturing facility in order that it could actually course of 100kg of spent barley grains into starchless noodles every day.

The 11 winners had been chosen primarily based on the applied sciences they use, the worth of their last merchandise, and the long-term viability of their companies, amongst different standards, mentioned NEA in an announcement on Wednesday.

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Meals waste is likely one of the main waste streams in Singapore.


Water, malted barley and surplus bread are being mashed collectively, as a part of the brewing course of. PHOTO: CRUST GROUP

Final yr, meals waste accounted for 11 per cent of the entire waste generated. Solely 19 per cent of the 665 million kilograms of the meals discarded was recycled.

Talking on the award ceremony on Wednesday, Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Surroundings Amy Khor mentioned: “More can and needs to be done to reduce the amount of food waste that goes to our incineration plants as valuable resources are wasted in their production, distribution and disposal.”


CRUST Group collects extra bread from bakeries, and makes use of them to make beer. PHOTO: CRUST GROUP

One other winner, CRUST Group, concocts bottles of craft beer utilizing unsold bread from bakeries as one of many uncooked components within the brewing course of.

Later this yr, CRUST will launch its vary of fruit-based glowing water, made out of the peels and rinds of fruit and greens. Fermentation and warmth therapy will likely be used to extract the flavours for the glowing water.