Coffee Grounds Turned Into Ink

Every morning when I wake up, one of my favorite parts of getting out of bed is knowing that I can have a cup of coffee to start my day off right, as well as jump start the neurons in my brain.  But morning after morning, cup after cup, it’s hard not to wonder what better use these grounds could provide in order to make them slightly more functional.  If you have a compost, they are great for that (even the unbleached coffee filters can be put in the compost as well!) but if you don’t have access to a compost, they most likely go into the garbage.  What if I was to tell you there might soon be a way to turn these used coffee grounds into ink for printing?  There might be a way to do such a thing sometime soon, thanks in part to the Greener Gadgets Competition.

This past year, Inhabitat and Core77 partnered to host the Greener Gadgets Competition in order to encourage designers to create environmentally friendly consumer electronic devices.  Because it is a competition, designers are forced to come up with ideas that are extremely unique and challenge what it means to be a “green” product.  People from around the world competed last year as it was cut down to the top 50 designs, judged by internet votes, industry professionals and the sponsors of the competition.

Entries this year ranged from bicycle powered lights to energy monitoring equipment to human energy capturing infrastructure.  One entry stood out as a radical approach to what most considered a waste product, meaning it has no further use beyond it’s initial purpose.  Introducing, the RITI Coffee Printer :

It is a simple product, allowing the user to insert coffee grounds into the provided filter/cartridge and compress it into ink.  The device does not require any addition power sources, as it is powered by human strength (just moving the cartridge back+forth to distribute the ink).
Production of this printer is unknown at the moment, but it did well at the Green Gadget Competition in 2009.  Stay tuned for an update on the upcoming 2010 Competition this coming February.
Next time you consider the lifecycle of the products you use, keep an open mind, any attempt at being creative and diverting waste from landfills is a step in the right direction and who knows, you might come up with the next great Green Gadget design!
(all images in this post via Inhabitat)

Leslie Bloom
LEED Accredited Professional