1 September 2022

Circularity Tales: tackling the waste problem in coffee industries

At Impact Hub, we believe in the power of circularity to create a more sustainable present and future. That’s why we are on a path to mainstream circular principles across our global network’s business support initiatives. 

As part of that commitment, we are running a pilot programme across different Impact Hubs around the globe dedicated to boosting impact venture’s capacities to implement circular principles in their own operations and mission. In the latest interview for the Circularity Tales series, which is showcasing great examples from innovators and entrepreneurs who participated in the pilot programme, we spoke with Adriana Uribesalgo. Adriana is the Project Manager of KAFEA.ECO, an Aduna-based (Spain) business dedicated to tackle the waste problem in the coffee industry founded in 2020.

Impact Hub: Adriana, tell us about KAFEA.ECO – what is it about?

Adriana Uribesalgo: KAFEA.ECO’s mission is to find ways to recycle the different waste materials created by the coffee industry, especially coffee capsules. We address all the logistic stages, from the collection of the waste residues, to the recycling and creation of products in an integral way, thus providing a real solution based on the principles of the Circular Economy.

Impact Hub:
In one phrase, what does circularity mean to you?

Adriana Uribesalgo: It means making materials and processes flow without being or generating wastes.

Impact Hub: You participated in the Impact Hub Donostia pilot dedicated to embedding circularity practices into businesses’ practices. How did that go for KAFEA.ECO?

Adriana Uribesalgo: Our project from the beginning was raised in a circular way, so it started from a sustainable base. However, thanks to the program we have been able to outline and improve the different approaches that we had come up with. Above all, we are now going to be more capable of making good measurements and improving our processes.

On a different note, what we enjoyed the most about the program were the modules related to communication and storytelling. It is often difficult to clearly show what we do in circular companies since, as in nature, the Circular Economy is made up of complex interconnected systems that make possible processes through which materials do not end up in landfills but rather that everything is used.

KAFEA-ECO's Project Manager Adriana Uribesalgo

Impact Hub: Thinking about everything you learned throughout this journey, what would you recommend to ventures that would like to follow the same circularity path?

Adriana Uribesalgo: As an industrial company, our recommendation is that, at first, it’s really important to understand how they can create a system through which the materials flow during the entire process/product life, in a way that the waste can become a resource – either for their own or for other nearby industries.

Impact Hub:
Wise advice! Now, when you look to the future of KAFEA.ECO, what do you see? 

Adriana Uribesalgo: For now, our goal is to install our system nationwide – we want to offer our products and circular proposal to all Spanish municipalities. In the future, we hope to be able to expand at a regional level and bring the capsule recycling system to the entire European Union.

Impact Hub:
Any final words for a more circular world? 

Adriana Uribesalgo: In a limited world, a circular system allows us to be in harmony with nature and helps us flow with it. Humanity is an expert in creating waste, and in not taking responsibility. That is why we must be responsible for reversing this effect and turning this problem into a business opportunity that generates green, innovative and competitive employment.

Stay up to date with KAFEA.ECO’s work and next steps by following them on their social media channels.

Circularity is part of our broader Environmental Strategy – discover how Impact Hub Global Network is addressing our time’s most pressing issues here. For more inspiring stories like this, head to our blog.

To learn from already-tested approaches, discover new activities and opportunities to integrate the Circular Economy knowledge into your entrepreneur support programs design and implementation, discover our toolkit!