There are many different definitions of the circular economy, which at their core have the same thing in common: the reduction of waste, and the movement away from the linear economy which operates on a take-make-consume-throwaway model. Many have recognised that this model is unsustainable, and by moving towards a circular economy it is possible to minimise environmental impacts while maximising economic, social and environmental benefits.
Engagement in circular economy practices varies in many way with different industries finding multiple avenues to change their behaviours. In 2019 we published a white paper which provided some insights into the activities of the coffee shop industry related to the circular economy.
Having completed the research project ‘From the grounds up: the coffee shop industry and the circular economy’, we have now published a research summary which provides some of the key findings with examples and consideration of the implications for future research. It can be downloaded using the button below.
The research explored examples of how actors in, and related to, the coffee shop industry in the UK and Germany engage in circular economy practices. It was designed to be an exploratory piece of research, and this research summary is designed to showcase some of the innovations from different areas of the industry, as well as to consider some of the enablers and barriers for engagement. In the future there will be some journal articles that provide more detailed analysis of the data from this research.
While coffee grounds are often the most obvious source of waste from coffee shops that have circular economy potential – as most recently demonstrated by Ford who are using recycled coffee chaff to make car parts (headlamp houses) – there are lots of ways the coffee shop industry and related industries can engage in the circular economy, and I will continue to explore these over time.