«Take a Break» by Elīna Zariņa. Photo by Elīna Zariņa

In her bachelor’s degree project at the Art Academy of Latvia Functional Design Department, Elīna Zariņa has created a product called «Iepauzē» (in English — «Take a Break»). It is a set of biodegradable seedling pots, made of coffee grounds that are leftover waste from offices, gas stations, and cafes.

Stories Veronika Viļuma June 13, 2018

The graduate of the Art Academy of Latvia Functional Design Department Elīna Zariņa tells that the idea of her diploma project «Take a Break» comes from her own experience. In her daily life, Elīna tries to follow the zero waste concept. «I have to find ways how to avoid packaging or replace it with recyclable materials. Our lifestyle results in an abundance of waste, and most of it comes from food. By doing research and at the same time following my own habits, I came to the topic of coffee,» says Elīna.

The author points out that coffee is one of the most widely used products in the world. In Latvia alone, about eight thousand tons of coffee grounds are thrown away in a year. However, it is a resource that can be returned to people and nature in the form of new products and materials. Elīna’s solution — the seedling pots «Take a Break». Its main component is coffee grounds, which is an effective soil fertilizer, promoting the growth of plants and repelling unwanted insects. The project features four pots in various sizes, including both trays for herbs and sprouts and pots for bigger plants. After use, the pots together with the seedlings can be planted in the ground or discarded in a compost where they will decompose. ««Take a Break» is an alternative to the plastic seedling pots, which are non–degradable and pollute the environment. This is a new solution for food waste recycling and a contribution to circulation and the development of bioeconomy,» Elīna explains.

«Take a Break» is made of coffee grounds, collected from offices, gas stations, and cafes. «The main prerequisite to starting the production of these pots is access to the coffee grounds. It could be a collaboration with some of the gas stations. For example, «Virši–A» can provide 4kg coffee grounds in a day,» says Elīna.

The seedling pots have paper packaging that can be used as a tray. The user can also cut out small paper flags to indicate the plant or to record the sowing time.

Currently, «Take a Break» is exhibited among other works by design graduates at the Art Academy of Latvia, Kalpaka bulvāris 13, Riga. The exhibition will be on view until July 6.

Elīna Zariņa’s bachelor’s degree project the Art Academy of Latvia was supervised by Assoc. prof. Dr. art. Aija Freimane.