Inspired by the ethical issues surrounding sand mining, Team Aggregate have been looking at alternative granular materials that to be used as a sand replacement in future concretes and ceramics.


The team researched various biomaterials and chose to focused their project on used coffee grounds.


Their project, Groundity, proposes a range of ceramics developed in partnership with local coffee shops around London.


The premise of the scheme is circular in a holistic sense, Groundity collects coffee waste from shops and businesses which they use to generate coffee cups and other ceramics that can then be re-purchased for coffee shops to serve their beverages in.


The products are then biodegradable at end of life.

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We are team grounded and we explored the possibility of creating a biodegradable coffee cup.


Our product basically started by us investigating aggregates and one of the most frequent reoccurring products that we found in aggregates was sand but we then after doing further research we discovered that sand is quite unethically sourced and therefore we wanted to identify a more local alternative. 


One of the alternatives we found with similar properties to sand and aggregates would be coffee grounds and luckily the coffee consumption in the uk is pretty high at around 95 million cups per year, this produces around 500 tons of waste a year.


Next up on our Re-Fab Team insights is Aggregate! The Aggregate Team have been looking into sand alternatives in the production of concrete and ceramics. Sand mining covers the largest part of natural mineral extraction globally and as demand rises, sand is being extracted ever more unethically and unsustainably.

The team’s proposal is to create a new form of aggregate that reuses coffee grounds as the sand replacement to be used for tiles and kitchenware before being fully biodegradable at the end of life.

The challenge here is to test the balance of ingredients to ensure a structurally sound product while still enabling a fully circular life cycle.