Designed to disappear: Little Green Panda creates compostable cutlery from used coffee grounds

Kaycee Enerva

Kaycee Enerva

Australian company Little Green Panda has created the world’s first compostable cutlery made from used coffee grounds.

The sustainable start-up seeks to redefine the way we create disposable packaging by repurposing waste into alternatives to single-use plastic straws and utensils.

Using compostable utensils might sound good for the environment, but did you know that most of this still end up as landfill waste?

Compostable cutlery is usually made of polylactic acid (PLA), a plant-based plastic derived from starch. Unlike its petroleum-based counterpart, PLA is designed to break down, but that only occurs in industrial composters and not in our trash bins, as we assume. As a result, PLA-based cutlery can last for years in landfills even if it is often tagged as biodegradable.

Wooden cutlery, in contrast, while made of natural material and compostable, is not as sustainable because it still requires the use and cutting down of trees.

According to the company, by using upcycled coffee grounds, waste is diverted from landfills while simultaneously providing a sustainable alternative to bio-plastic and wood cutlery, which are currently the only “eco-friendly” options available in the market.

“The majority of coffee grounds goes directly to landfill, where it contributes significantly to climate change through the production of methane – a greenhouse gas 34 times more potent than carbon dioxide,” said Manon Beauchamp-Tardieu, founder, Little Green Panda.

“We started with drinking straws, but that is only the beginning. We’re currently doing some R&D in the bioplastics area and are looking at developing more innovative products to replace single-use packaging.”

The start-up has supplied its sustainable products to over 1000 venues worldwide to date, replacing approximately 8 million straws. In addition, it was recently announced as a preferred supplier to Independent Cinemas Australia (ICA) for sustainable straws.

“ICA applauds Little Green Panda for creating an environmental solution that maintains effectiveness from the first sip and throughout the movie and reduces plastic pollution,” said Adrianne Pecotic, CEO, ICA.

Kaycee Enerva

Kaycee Enerva

A digital content manager based in the Philippines, Kaycee Enerva has written for multiple publications over several years. A graduate of Computer Science, she exchanged a career in IT to pursue her passion for writing. She's slowly practicing sustainability through period cups, and eating more plant-based food.
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