Used disposable coffee cups could be a concrete ingredient

11 June 2022

This might be the breakthrough coffee drinkers have been waiting for. Yanni Bouras, a Melbourne based structural engineer, thinks there might be a way to recycle the single-use takeaway coffee cups that Australians can’t seem to live without. Bouras has devised a method of replacing some of the sand used in concrete mix, with used, broken down, disposable coffee cups:

The cups are ground up and mixed in as a substitute for a proportion of the sand that goes into a typical concrete mix. So far, testing has found the material is weaker than standard concrete but has a higher thermal performance. That means it could be useful for non-structural purposes, like footpaths or even insulation. If 10 per cent of sand was replaced by takeaway coffee cups, there could be up to 700 coffee cups used per cubic metre of concrete.