Grounds for Collaboration: Designing Sustainable Partnerships between Coffee Shops and Spent Coffee Grounds Collectors

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School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Bachelor's thesis
Major of Design
Degree programme
Bachelor's Programme in Design
31 + 11
Coffee shops generate a significant amount of spent coffee grounds (SCG) daily, constituting an inevitable byproduct of the coffee-making process. Extensive research has demonstrated the feasibility of recycling SCG, offering both environmental benefits and economic advantages for those engaged in SCG recycling. However, for the successful implementation of SCG recycling, a collaborative effort between coffee shops and SCG collectors is essential, as the former serves as a key source of SCG, and the latter recycles it. Regrettably, there exists a notable dearth of knowledge regarding the specific nature of collaboration required between coffee shops and collectors. This limited knowledge consequently hampers the practical application of SCG recycling initiatives. Acknowledging this significant knowledge gap, this bachelor’s thesis aims to undertake research to enrich the existing information referring to SCG collection and the dynamics of coffee shop-collector collaborations. A literature review was conducted, followed by interviews, in order to gather comprehensive insights on the subject. Furthermore, the study identified key intervention points that must be addressed when designing a collaborative SCG-recycling framework between coffee shops and collectors. Emphasizing the importance of sustainability, the thesis accentuated the establishment of ground rules for collaboration that consider the economic, social, environmental, and cultural considerations of coffee shop partners. This thesis highlights two distinct types of intervention points as critical factors to consider when engaging in cooperation with coffee shops while respecting their sustainable balance. Firstly, motivators are pivotal aspects that encourage coffee shops to participate in collaborative efforts. Thus, they should be actively promoted during the collaboration process. Conversely, requirements represent the constraints and obligations that coffee shops must prioritize to effectively operate their businesses. It is crucial to avoid challenging these requirements, as doing so may hinder the coffee shop's willingness to cooperate. To ensure the success of a collaborative endeavor between coffee shops and collectors, careful consideration must be given to both motivators and requirements. By designing a collaborative framework that addresses these aspects, a sustainable and fruitful partnership can be fostered, yielding mutual benefits for all parties involved.
Chun, Namkyu
Thesis advisor
Veselova, Emilija
spent coffee grounds, collaboration, recycling, coffee shops, sustainable development, requirements, motivators