Research and innovation

Favini together with CNR, Milan University, Intercos and Eurac Research


Favini announces that it has been collaborating with the Institute of Molecular Sciences and Technologies of CNR (National Research Council), Milan University Research and the cosmetics producer Intercos, on an integrated research project on industrial biotechnologies and bioeconomy and, in particular, on the possible reuse of industrial waste from coffee roasting for the production of paper. The activities are carried out within the CirCo (Circular Coffee)project, financed by Fondazione Cariplo and Innovhub SSI

Since 2012, the Favini R&D department has been making Crush, a range of ecological paper which creatively reuses (upcycling) the agro-industrial residues from processing citrus fruit, grapes, cherries, lavender, maize, olives, kiwis, hazelnuts and almonds as a partial substitute for cellulose.

The coffee market is one of the most flourishing worldwide and its annual consumption is equal to about 10 million tonnes (2015 data). In Italy alone people consume 3.4 kg a head in a year, a figure which makes our country the fourth importer in the world.

Coffee processing goes through various phases and creates different types, and a considerable quantity, of waste, from the pericarp to the parchment, from the silver skin to the extraction residues. The presence of this residual material is a problem for producers, whilst for the economy and the environment it is a missed opportunity. In some cases it is a question of materials which could be used for different purposes but which, often, are simply dumped, with high costs, both economically and for the environment.

One Italian processing waste from coffee is the silver skin which can be up to 2 per cent of the total weight of the coffee bean and, in Italy alone, 7,500 tonnes a year are produced. Up until now, it has been used in some countries only as a fertiliser or fuel.

Thanks to this research, Favini, together with other major partners, intends to expand its own know-how further regarding the reuse of by-products and, in particular, silver skin. The contamination of ideas between corporations, as well as companies in various sectors, like Intercos, which develops and produces cosmetic products, can help to make the economy more circular and improve production processes and the level of environmental sustainability. Focussing on the conversion of processes from conventional to circular, it is, in fact, possible to bring about a significant change, which could optimise the use of renewable natural resources and increase the value of production waste.