Researchers into raw materials in Germany are developing new products with the aim of launching sustainable production trends: bamboo bicycle frames, chicory fiber pantyhose, and crockery made from old coffee grounds.
Jonas Stolzke and his team have already managed to produce stable bicycle frames made of bamboo. "Metals such as steel, aluminum or carbon cost a lot to extract and need a lot of energy to produce. In Ghana, our bamboo grows very quickly by almost every roadside and only needs to be harvested," says Stolzke. According to the makers, bamboo frames are even better than metal wheels because they have superior shock-absorption. The raw material pioneers have also discovered that nylon can be extracted from chicory root extract, potentially doing away with oil-based nylon production processes. "Oil will soon run out and we need alternatives,” says Professor Andrea Kruse from the University of Hohenheim, who is conducting research into "sustainable raw materials.” Alternative raw materials can also be found in waste: every year, cafés across Germany dispose of 20 million tons of coffee grounds in their kitchen waste. Julian Lechner from Kaffeeform has discovered how to produce dishes from the old grounds. Granulate is produced from the coffee waste and then molded into solid cups and saucers, which he thinks could replace petroleum-based plastics. Now he wants to use it to declare war on widely-used disposable cups, which are harmful to the environment.