We love sharing stories about people making everyday products with sustainable alternatives to plastic. If you are thinking about some new sunglasses or prescription frames and you love coffee, then the Ochis Coffee line of eyeglasses might be for you.
Ochis was founded by Max Havrylenko, who comes from a family that has long been in the optical business. He told Inhabitat, “From this, I saw a lot of glasses and wanted to create really eco-friendly, comfortable and universal glasses that each person can adjust to themselves.” 1
Like so many eco-entrepreneurs, Havrylenko set out to explore what materials were best able to substitute for the plastic that so many of us wear on our faces for hours and hours each day. As explained in an article for Forbes, “I wanted to create something new and natural. So we started our search for a perfect material that can be recycled. Coffee was that perfect one because it is a very popular drink. People consume 2.5 million cups of coffee per day all over the world.”2
The company came up with a combination of coffee grounds, flax and a biopolymer made from vegetable oil that can be pressed into sheets from which a computer-controlled machine is used to precisely cut the frame components.3
The BBC has a nice video about the sunglasses, they call Espresso Vision.
Ochis frames are lighter than similar plastic models and would breakdown much faster in landfills—if they weren’t sent to a compost pile instead.
Ochis is based in the capital city of Ukraine, Kyiv, and ships internationally. We saved the best for last…you will smell a hit of coffee whenever you wear your new glasses!
Many Other Uses for Recycled Daily Grinds
Coffee grounds are being used for a remarkable and growing range of products. Researchers at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia published a paper indicating that coffee grounds could be converted to biodiesel and that the waste from that process could then be used for producing bioethanol.4
Three friends in Colombia collaborated with colleagues in Denmark to create a coffee recycling company called Kaffe Bueno that extracts oil from what they call “upcycled spent coffee grounds” for a line of natural skincare products called Bueno Naturals. It turns out that those spent grounds are rich in antioxidants and lipids!5 The company provides recycling services to cafes, hotels, offices, and canteens in Copenhagen for their source material.
A company called NAT-2 makes a line of vegan sneakers using recycled grounds, beans, and other parts of the coffee plant that can comprise up to 50% of the shoe. Other materials include cork insoles and real rubber soles. The materials were developed in Germany and the shoes are assembled in Italy.6 The company’s Product Journal also offers shoes from other sustainable materials like their Algae Sneaker Line, the Fungi Line that uses “mushroom leather” and a Moss Line that uses “real sustainable upcycled Tyrolian mountain forest moss.”
There are many more promising uses for coffee grounds we could share. As the upcyclers at Kaffe Bueno say, “Coffee’s life doesn’t end after you drink it. It is just the beginning of a new cycle. Waste is a resource in the wrong hands.”7
At the very least, we hope that most of us at least deposit our daily grounds into a compost pile!
Photography by Yaroslav Boychenko and Akim Karpach with permission via Ochis Coffee Facebook page.
1Bergen T. Ochis Coffee Releases a New Line of Sunglasses Made from Organic Coffee Grounds. Inhabitat. 21 August 2019.
2 Banovic R. Meet the Ukrainian Start-Up Turning Coffee into Eyewear. Forbes. 31 August 2019.
3Kickstarter. Ochis: Ecological Eyewear Made of Coffee. Last update: 25 March 2020.
4Haile M, Asfaw A, Asfaw N. Investigation of Waste Coffee Ground as a Potential Raw Material for Biodiesel Production. International Journal of Renewable Energy Research. 2013;4(3):854-860.
5Franco A. How Can Used Coffee Grounds Create a Greener Industry? PerfectDailyGrind.com 12 December 2017.
6NAT-2. NAT-2 Coffee Line. Website.
7Kaffe Bueno. About Us. Website.
Video. BBC. People Fixing the World. These Glasses are Made from Coffee, Not Plastic. 29 January 2020.
This Site Was Inspired By An Interest in Protecting the Environment:
We had the privilege and joy of learning from Dr. Charlie Stine who instilled a love for the natural world through incredible field trips with the Johns Hopkins Odyssey Certificate program in Environmental Studies. At the time, the program was endorsed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Sadly, after Dr. Stine retired, the program was phased out. We hope that we honor his legacy by shining a bright light on environmental issues and sharing good news about the success of various conservation programs when possible.
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