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WORTH Partnership Project
Project

Retracing the coffee bag

High-end products such as carpets and tapestries made from recycled coffee bags

Retracing the coffee bag

The message of the project

The project's partners see potential in the waste stream of coffee bags in European cities, which are currently thrown away or downcycled. Blending two fibres with a similar trip provides a narrative component that encourages discussion about global commerce and local(ly available) resources  while simultaneously responding to the pressing need to relocalize the European textile industry.

Retracing the coffee bag

The idea behind the project 

Rosana tracked the life and travel of coffee bags as a worldwide commodity but also as a link to their home country, Colombia, for their graduation project "unravelling the coffee bag." During her research, she traced the material (fique fibre) back to its source to better comprehend the ecology that supports a product that serves the exclusive purpose of moving coffee grains around the world. These provided a point of contact for Alexander Marinus, who has been actively working with jute, the second fibre used in the creation of coffee bags from Asia and Africa, and Sanne, a material researcher and textile designer who specialises in felting materials and upcycling wool.

They envisioned a collaborative endeavour based on their knowledge of fique and jute, with felting as the primary technique for product creation. Their goal is to give these fibres a second chance and return them to the system as non-woven material.

As designers and fibre researchers, the three of them have each established a knowledge of natural fibres. Designing a system around the circularity of the bags, connecting coffee roasteries with shredding facilities, will be part of the creative process. They will experiment with different material mixes and processes like carding and felting to develop a new material from recovered coffee bags that would otherwise wind up in the trash stream.

They will create and produce high-end items like carpets and tapestries that will showcase not just the beauty of the fibre but also its excellent insulating characteristics.

They create high-end textile items influenced by material context and manufacturing techniques for forward-thinking people and enterprises. Their skills (materials, machinery, logistics, and communication) overlap and complement one another. They have the necessary network to conduct a pilot collection.

Retracing the coffee bag

What next?

The idea is to transform jute and fique coffee bags into high-end non-woven interior fabrics.

During the WORTH partnership, they will create a first sample fabric line and present it in two rugs. In doing so, they established a sustainable network that linked coffee roasters with shredders/recyclers in order to collect secondary raw material. The developed textiles reposition needle felting as a noble method and the bags (and consequently fique and jute) as a locally available rare resource, exposing structural and aesthetic aspects while telling the story of their journey.

Retracing the coffee bag
English
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Stakeholders

Coordinators

Alexander Marinus

Address
Belgium

Sanne Muiser

Address
Netherlands

Rosana Escobar

Address
Netherlands