Glasses frame made of waste coffee grounds – a modern and sustainable solution

Glasses frame made of coffee grounds – a modern and sustainable solution

Photo: Coffee Mates


April 7, 2023






April 7, 2023





Need new glasses? You can try a frame made from used coffee grounds, a sustainable solution devised by two young researchers. It protects the environment and has a modern design, tailored to you.

The Coffee Mates team – Petar Stefanovski and Nikola Vuchkov, created a sustainable solution for using coffee grounds – they made a glasses frame. They were declared winners for their idea among the third generation of young people within a project called Regional Incubator for Social Entrepreneurs (RISE), organized by the association for social innovation ARNO in North Macedonia.

Petar and Nikola are young innovators and, as they say, coffee friends, with a common mission to create a more sustainable world through positive action.

In an interview with Balkan Green Energy News, the two engineers explained how they came up with the idea of turning waste coffee grounds into an industrial product of high quality and modern design.

How and when did you come up with the idea of using coffee grounds?

Using coffee grounds for many different purposes has been a common practice for a long time. People have been using coffee grounds as a natural fertilizer for their gardens for years. However, the idea of recycling used coffee grounds as a sustainable and eco-friendly material has gained popularity in the past few years. After research that has been done by UNDP, we found out that a big amount of organic waste is generated by coffee shops, restaurants, and bars.

We developed our product prototypes, conducted market research and created our business model

Our idea was born in September 2022, and since then we have been working on it and created a survey analysis about the quantities of coffee used by the local restaurants, coffee shops and bars. Additionally, we participated in a mentorship program for sustainable enterprises sponsored by the RISE 2 project and the local incubator ARNO. We developed our product prototypes, conducted market research and created our business model. Furthermore, we will continue to develop our idea and make it become reality.

Glasses frame, made of coffee grounds
Coffee Mates

How important is the recycling of this type of waste?

Recycling coffee grounds is important because it helps to reduce waste and conserve natural resources. It is estimated that millions of tons of coffee grounds are produced worldwide each year. Most of them end up in landfills. Recycling this waste can help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Methane accounts for 20% of global emissions

Typically, spent coffee grounds are dumped into general waste and taken to landfill, where they emit methane – which is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Often, they are thrown into the drain system which creates difficulties for wastewater treatment plants.

Methane accounts for 20% of global emissions. It traps heat in the atmosphere and causes an increase in the atmospheric warming potential. Over the last two centuries, the amount of methane in the atmosphere has doubled due to human-related activities. Working on significant reductions of this potent gas can be beneficial for the fight against global warming.

How does this type of waste find its place in the circular economy? In what ways can it be used?

Coffee grounds can find their place in the circular economy in various ways. They can be used as a source of biofuel, fertilizer, or even as an ingredient in cosmetics and skincare products.

Additionally, there are some innovative ways to use coffee grounds as a raw material for creating new products, such as eyeglass frames, furniture, and even shoes. We as a social enterprise Coffee Mates are focusing on creating new innovative products on the market such as organic plant fertilizer and eyeglasses frames made of actual coffee waste.

How are coffee grounds processed into useful items, like eyeglass frames?

To process coffee grounds into useful items, various methods can be used, depending on the intended application. For instance, to create eyeglass frames, coffee grounds are mixed with biomaterials and molded into the desired shape. The resulting material is durable, lightweight, and eco-friendly.

Glasses frame,made of the coffee grounds
Foto: Coffee Mates

Mixing used coffee grounds with wood chips and dried leaves can create a nutrient-rich compost that can be used as a fertilizer for plants. Using coffee grounds to create organic fertilizer is a great way to recycle waste and benefit your garden at the same time.

Thanks to Igor Joškovski, an artist and craftsman, we have managed to design and create the prototype for eyeglasses frames. His experience in crafts is helping us to develop our product. Our eyeglasses are made out of 100% recycled materials. These unique and handcrafted eyeglasses can be customized to the customers’ needs and requirements.

Coffee Mates, glasses frame made of coffee grounds
Coffee Mates

Did your idea generate any interest in making it a reality?

There is likely interest in implementing the idea of using coffee grounds as a sustainable material into practice. Many companies and startups are already using it to create innovative products. The trend is expected to continue to grow in the future as consumers become more conscious of their impact on the environment.

After winning the award from the RISE project, we have been contacted by a few local coffee shops. They were interested in collaboration and offered to supply us regularly with their coffee waste.

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