Coffee grinds lampshades, self-cooling vessels and car tyre benches..all from Spain

Coffee grinds lampshades are just some great eco inventions from Spain

Designer Raúl Laurî, who's based in Alicante, has spent several years developing his patented biodegradable Decafé material. It's made from coffee grinds and a natural binding agent, which are compressed and heated. Pictured above:  an inspiring range of Decafé homewares

The next time you go to throw your coffee grinds down the drain or put them on the compost, just think.... they could be put to better use by turning them into lampshades or bowls or decorative objets.

Alicante-based designer Raúl Laurí had just that thought and then put his mind to working out how to achieve a solid, stable material with the potential to be used for many different objects. His recipe is a closely guarded secret, but it's all good stuff, which is mixed together, compressed and heated.

Laurí  says he was interested in developing a material from coffee grinds because coffee is so widely drunk that there would be no shortage of grinds. He has designed several lamps using his patented Decafé material, which a few years back won him first prize at the Salone Satellite Student Awards at the Milan Furniture Fair. Decafé is warm and tactile and Laurí is working on different shades in the delicious coffee think latte down to espresso.

Decafe portable lamps
Descafé designer Raúl Laurí
Koji lampshades. Lauri is working on developing other colours for Decafe
Decafé is great for bowls
El Botijo by Wow Studio cools water without refrigeration

It's getting cold, but come next summer, you'll be endlessly making room in the fridge for jugs of water. Imagine not having to store water in the fridge to keep it cool... that's idea behind El Botijo by Mariana Lerma and Monica Thurne of Wow Studio.

El Botijo is made from porous ceramic, and it cools water without the need for a fridge: the porous pottery absorbs some of the water contained in the jug and as a water reaches the outer surface, it slowly evaporates. The energy for evaporation is taken from the inside of the vase, and as the surface water evaporates as a result of 'taking' energy from the inside heat, so the water cools.

Got that? (Scientists at the University of Madrid do have a mathematical formula that explains the process, should you want to know more). Or it might be enough to know that if water goes in at 13 degrees, it will be cooled down to 10 degrees in El Botijo, no matter what the ambient temperature is. 

Deconscient bench by Alex Fernández Camps for manufacturer Durbanis is made from old car tyres

Wow Studio has won prizes for El Botijo.

It's not yet won an award, but award-winning designer Alex Fernández-Camps and German Rubio have won plenty of praise for their Deconscient bench, for furniture company DurbanisIt's made from 16 discarded car tyres, comes in three colours and two sizes, and is perfect for gardens as well as parks.

So let's all do our bit to boost trade... and the global green economy.