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S.Café: The Next Big Thing in Eco-Friendly Fabrics

There’s no denying that eco-friendly alternatives to everyday items are changing the outlook of many a savvy consumer. From re-usable shopping totes and recyclable drinkware to organically made cosmetic and decorative products, the green initiative extends to almost every facet of modern, everyday living.

And any proactive go-greener worth his or her weight in corrugated cardboard will be interested to know that one of the latest developments in green technology comes to us by way of used coffee grounds.

coffee grounds, coffee beansYep, used coffee grounds.

It’s called “S.Café,” and it’s not so much a technology as it is a simple fiber. Actually, it’s a composite fiber that can be made into yarn and then turned into a woven fabric. Long story short, it’s a viable, earth-friendly alternative to traditional clothing fabrics. The material has only been on the scene since earlier this year, but a number of big-name apparel brands (like North Face, Puma, and Timberland) are already using it.

And yes, it’s partially manufactured from used coffee grounds, which the manufacturer appropriates from coffee shops before they end up in landfills. Apparently, coffee grounds “require less energy in the production process.”

Though coffee grounds are the most fundamental component of the fabric, don’t get overexcited about the notion of a coffee-scented spring jacket that you can take along for your night on the town. Items of clothing made from this material don’t actually smell like coffee. S.Café, instead, is great at masking odor, as coffee grounds have excellent odor-masking properties.

coffee signBut the benefits of the material don’t just end there. According to Jason Chen, the founder of Singtex Industrial Co. (the Taiwanese developer of S.Café), “coffee grounds help to control odors and protect against UV rays, as well as enabling the fabric to dry faster.”

Combine those attributes with the aforementioned Earth-friendliness and it’s no wonder such popular clothing makers are vying to implement the fabric into their lines.

The material itself certainly represents a step in the right direction for alternative manufacturing. The larger question is: will S.Café ultimately help change the way we shop for apparel?

Time will tell, but it can’t hurt to have a company out there trying.

What are your thoughts? Can an eco-friendly fabric entice consumers into being environmentally conscious about clothing purchases?


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  1. Eric

    Makes a heck of a lot more sense to make clothes from coffee grounds than whatever the heck “polyester” is (still don’t know the answer to that question). Will this change how I shop? If they could find a way to make the material more mainstream, and get more and more labels and designers to sign on? It would, had I the option to buy from my normal line with this as an option. No idea where in heck you heard about this one, so kudos on a neat post, Joe!

    • Joseph Giorgi

      Thanks! I think I originally heard about S.Cafe over at Brandchannel. And it really does make a lot of sense. With all the used coffee there is out there, the material could easily become a mainstay.

  2. Jen

    I think this fabric is a great idea! It’s awesome because it’s made out of recycled materials, but it’s ever more awesome because it drys faster and protects against UV rays. I don’t think it gets much better! Great post Joe!

  3. Stantz

    I’d try it!

  4. Amy Swanson

    This sounds really interesting, Joe. I’d totally give this fabric a chance. Did any of your research mention a price for it? That’s why I don’t have any “green” sheets or towels, they’re too expensive. I love the idea of it, but my wallet stops me haha

    • Amanda

      I agree Amy. I’d give it a shot–but not if it costs a bunch more. Cool post topic Joe! =)

    • Joseph Giorgi

      I’m not sure whether clothing manufacturers charge higher prices for apparel that uses the fabric. It seems like it would be an inexpensive material, but I can’t be sure.

      I hear you though. The added cost is what keeps me from buying eco-friendly products more regularly. Such a shame.

  5. Jill Tooley

    This is absolutely amazing. Never in a million years would I have thought this possible! You already answered one of my questions in your post (does the fabric smell like coffee?) but I do have another question: Do you happen to know if brands like Timberland got first dibs on this for a reason? Is this material only open to select manufacturers since its 2011 release? Just wondering. I could totally see eco-friendly companies getting merchandise made out of this!

    Oh, what will they think of next? If only someone would invent something that would reuse/repurpose/recycle styrofoam…

    • Joseph Giorgi

      “Is this material only open to select manufacturers since its 2011 release?”

      Excellent question — but one that I don’t have an answer for. It may be the case that S.Cafe was only available to certain brands in 2011, though I don’t know for sure. Maybe Timberland and the rest of the companies using the material are just ahead of the game when it comes to eco-friendly alternatives.

  6. Rachel

    How neat! I agree with what other people have said: if the price is right, I’m all about trying this. It’s so cool to see what kinds of materials can be recycled and repurposed in ways completely unrelated to their original uses. My brother and his wife, for instance, recently bought carpeting made out of old glass bottles and corn, or something ridiculous like that. I wish more companies would go out of their way to find innovative uses for recycled materials. This coffee grounds fabric seems like a step in the right direction!

    • Joseph Giorgi

      I couldn’t agree more. I was really surprised to hear about this material, but carpeting made from bottles and corn and whatnot sounds pretty nifty as well. Hopefully we’ll see plenty more of these innovations in the years to come.

  7. Alex Brodsky

    I wonder what the laundry costs associated with these coffee ground clothes is. Can they be thrown in the washing machine? Do they need to be dry cleaned to preserve the quality of the coffee grounds? Do they mask smell SO WELL that you just never need to wash it? That last option would be awesome!

    • Joseph Giorgi

      Agreed. I’d pay top dollar for an item of clothing that never needed to be washed — that’s for sure.

  8. Mandy Kilinskis

    Sign me up for coats made out of coffee grounds! Especially since it does all of that fancy stuff on top of keeping you warm. I’m used to paying more money for a high quality coat, so as long as the price isn’t astronomically more, I’ll definitely consider buying one.

    P.S. After reading the description, I’m pretty sure that Marty McFly’s jacket from 2015 was made out of S.Café. 😉

    • Joseph Giorgi

      “I’m pretty sure that Marty McFly’s jacket from 2015 was made out of S.Café.”

      Haha. Must’ve been.

  9. linda s

    Try Moving Comfort gear (a women’s workout wear company). I have a sports bra with Scafe components, it behaves at least as well as synthetic ones.

  10. Forrest

    What a great way to reuse something that is invariably tossed every day! I can’t seem to tell when this was posted but it’s (good) news to me. This reminds me of the new project NOOKA just put on kickstarter, this POTHRA pot which also incorporates used coffee grounds. Are we entering a more up-cycled future? I’m totally down for some scafe clothing!

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