Coffeefrom: from nature, the future

Have you ever thought that spent coffee grounds could not be a waste, but a great resource? 


Let’s start with some numbers. Italy imports annually around 606 thousand tonnes of coffee (this is 17% of the EU’s coffee imports), and on average an Italian consumes 6 kg of coffee annually. As we can see, Italy is a significant coffee consumer, which means that Italy produces a significant quantity of spent coffee grounds.


Spent coffee grounds have a lot of qualities: in particular, they are rich in nitrogen, an element with a high potential for energy production, saturated fatty acids, and cellulose. They can be used in several industries as they can be used to produce cosmetics, compost, pellets, biofuels, etc. 


While some industries do recognize the potential of spent coffee grounds, there are some innovative startups that truly went above and beyond. Coffeefrom uses this resource in a circular way, with a zero-waste approach. 


Coffeefrom is an Italian company that was born in 2019, it is based in Milan and it brought an innovative, extremely versatile, and sustainable material of biological origin material on the market. This material is made using spent coffee grounds of industrial origin, in a truly sustainable and circular fashion.


Coffeefrom is the second circular economy spin-off launched by a local cooperative, Il Giardinone Cooperativa Sociale. The first experience dates back to Expo 2015, when the team of Il Giardinone experimented with the recovery and transformation of coffee grounds from Lavazza bars, using them to cultivate fresh mushrooms. In 2016, FungoBox was launched: the kit allows for self-production of fresh mushrooms from urban coffee waste. 


Over time, the know-how of Il Giardinone in the recovery and transformation of coffee by-products strengthened and a new entrepreneurial vision was born: this is how Coffeefrom first came into existence in 2019. 


Just a few weeks ago, Coffeefrom presented its first product: a set of coffee cups made from spent coffee grounds. Ergonomic, stackable, and durable, the cups are the result of a project by the creative studioWhomade. Thanks to the refined design, which is both aesthetically pleasing and functional, the set is designed to accompany and enhance the all-Italian pleasure of tasting coffee.


Coffeefrom is also a great example of circular economy at its best because it is the result of the involvement of the scientific community, including the Polytechnic of Milan, as well as companies operating in the bioplastic chain, in a virtuous model of industrial symbiosis. 


Moreover, Coffeefrom is a truly Italian brand: starting from the selection of the industrial coffee wastes, all stages of the production process take place in Italy, thus giving further added value to its final applications. 


In the past years, the goal of this reality has been the reduction of CO2 emissions and of logistics and disposal costs. In this process, however, Coffefrom never forgot the importance of people: they keep on striving to be inclusive, putting people first, starting from the integration of fragile workers in daily activities. The main idea behind this project is to generate a positive impact on local communities, in order to spread inclusivity.


Coffefrom is therefore a great example of how the circular economy can be the most innovative and productive answer to our social and environmental problems. 

Francesco Castellano

Francesco Castellano holds a Master degree in Business Administration, and he has gathered almost twenty years of experience in research, finance, consulting, and business management. During this time, he was engaged in different types of projects as a consultant at Bain & Company, launched Uber operations in Turin, and worked in the FP&A department at General Electric.Lately, he founded To... Read more

Francesco Castellano holds a Master degree in Business Administration, and he has gathered almost twenty years of experience in research, finance, consulting, and business management. During this time, he was engaged in different types of projects as a consultant at Bain & Company, launched Uber operations in Turin, and worked in the FP&A department at General Electric.

Lately, he founded Tondo, a cluster of organizations focusing on spreading Circular Economy approaches and concepts, and supporting companies in the transition to a clean and circular future. Francesco is also the ideator and coordinator of the Re-think Circular Economy Forum, a format of events organized in many different locations in Italy showcasing the most relevant Circular Economy solutions.

Francesco has been a guest speaker at different universities and events, like Federico II University, Bocconi University, LIUC - Cattaneo University, Pavia University, Padua University, Catholic University, IPE Business School, 24ORE Business School, Campus Party, Torino Stratosferica, Visionary Days.

Francesco is passionate about Circular Economy, Cleantech Innovations, Venture Building and Entrepreneurship.