recycledmaterials

  • 1 January 2021

    KAFFEEFORM

    English Version Winter is coming and the cold weather with it as well which encourages all of us to look for something to keep us warm. For instance, a blanket, a jumper, a pair of soft and thick socks or a hot drink. Indeed, one of the most popular beverages in the world is coffee which, actually, has no seasonality anymore. Coffee has been consumed for over 1000 years now and around two billion cups are drunk everyday worldwide. This makes coffee the most consumed beverage and the second largest traded commodity after oil. According to the International Coffee Organization, Europe accounted for 34% of global coffee consumption in 2019, followed by Asia and Oceania, Latin America and North America. Therefore, the European Union has the world’s highest per capita consumption with 5kg of coffee per person per year, which is surprisingly high. The increasing production and consumption of this beverage comes with the consequent huge generation of spent coffee grounds left from coffee brewing. According to Solange et al., 6 million tons of spent coffee grounds are generated every year worldwide thus resulting in a great amount of unused organic waste. Spent coffee grounds are usually known and used for their natural and strong properties as fertilizer for gardens, plants and compost. However, over the last years numerous researchers and companies have been focusing on other possible ways to benefit from such waste. For instance, coffee residues can be exploited in pharmaceutical industry, in the food sector or in bio-refineries and for a variety of different products such as the coffee cups created by KAFFEEFORM. THE KAFFEEFORM STORY KAFFEEFORM was born in Berlin from the initial vision of creating something new and lasting out of supposed waste. It all started with Julian Lechner, product designer, who after years of...
  • 18 December 2020

    Circular Materials

    By Marco Capellini – CEO at MATREC English Version The article is based on Marco Capellini’s intervention at the second edition of Re-think-Circular Economy Forum last October 2020. Marco split his speech in 3 chapters. The first one, called “We can’t change what we can’t measure” is an extremely important topic that allows us to understand how the design of a product can measure the efficient use of resources. Why it is important to apply circularity measurement models? First of all, because circular economy must offer us tangible results in order to quantify the resources used; secondly, because it enables companies to define improvement strategies. Thirdly, to communicate clearly the results obtained, fourthly, to quantify the economic cycle of resources used in the input and output process. As Matrec, they are developing different projects to measure the circularity of the product: furniture, fashion services, food and others with particular attention to the type of material used. Generally they face 2 problems: many companies don’t know about circular economy business models and they think circular economy is just recycling waste; many companies don’t know how to apply the circular economy to product or services. For this reasons, Marco has designed a roadmap that let companies get a first view of circular economy and understand which KPI should be used for a metric definition. This roadmap could be an opportunity to understand the approaches to follow in a product circularity measurement project and choose the most coherent route to apply to products. The best solution would be consider all these aspects but this requires a lot of time and expenses. It is important to contextualize the product step by step, trying to improve the scope of measurement. For example it is possible to start with a qualitative approach and then move on...
  • 12 June 2020

    Greenrail

    English Version By Giovanni De Lisi – CEO & Co-Founder of Greenrail Giovanni De Lisi tells his experience in the field of railway infrastructures mentioning the startup Greenrail, that is responsible for creating eco-friendly sleepers made of plastic deriving from urban waste and rubber deriving from the recycling of end-of-life tires. The market where the company operates, was dominated by wood and concrete, with products that had been engineered in the early 1900s. In the world there are one million 700 thousand kilometers of railway lines currently in existence, of which 10% made of wood and the remaining 90% made of concrete. When he decided to start his start-up, De Lisi knew the reference market very well, having a family that deals with the assembly and installation of railway lines and in which he has worked directly for about 5 years. During this experience, he realized that the plastic sleepers, which were being developed at that time, could only be a substitute for 10% of the wooden infrastructures, and so the field of action was extremely limited. The idea was therefore to develop a product that could cover the remaining 90% of production with an environmental friendly material. The reference market for sleepers is a very large market. Just think that only the sleepers replaced for normal maintenance activities are 140 million per year. Beside the dimensions, De Lisi realized that the current dominant product, namely the concrete sleepers, had many limitations and, for this reason, he convinced himself to launch an alternative product that had better technical characteristics. As a startup, Greenrail had to undertake an uphill path: the sleepers mixture was realized in collaboration with the Polytechnic of Milan after 35 attempts. Initially, the mixture of thermoplastic material, obtained from about 50% from end-of-life tires and 50% from...
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