by Arsene, Pål Idar, Marius & Vegard
In order to survive long and tedious days at the study halls, a major part of the students are dependent upon their daily (over)dose of coffee. It is also worth mentioning that Norwegians are one of the most coffee-drinking people in the world. In Oslo alone, it’s produced 10 tons of coffee grounds every day. We ask – do these coffee grounds become useless after the brewing process, or are they a resource that we don’t appreciate enough?
The Oslo-based company Gruten has taken on this challenge. They utilize what most people throw away, making a unique hand soap called “Grutensåpe” and a “grow-your-own-mushrooms” solution based on coffee grounds. The soap consists of olive oil, coconut oil, lavender oil and of course; coffee and coffee grounds. Gruten also offers courses teaching how to make soap and grow mushrooms at home (we are of course talking about tasty mushrooms for eating, and not getting high), and aims to share information on how to use a nutritious resource people think of as garbage. This might be “helping the process of composting, making nutritious soil, or using coffee grounds to fight the notorious brown snail that invade many gardens.” Their driving motivation is to be a positive role model and show people how it is possible to create exciting, sustainable products.
Gruten’s value proposition is simple – turning “waste” into ecological and sustainable products that people value and want to pay for. They capture value by selling products through their website and offering courses that people find interesting and alternative. In a way one might say that Gruten capture value in a sustainable way, by teaching customers not to throw away all of their coffee grounds. Gruten uses coffee grounds from the bakery chain “Godt Brød” in Oslo, securing their value delivering. In addition, the company’s leader, Siri Mittet, appears to be a devoted entrepreneur and a member of the “green” political party Miljøpartiet De Grønne, being an important resource for the company.
What fascinated us most when reading about Gruten, is that it represents a shift in the mentality of people. It seems like a “low impact” initiative, but addresses important values and a way of living that will be neccessary when striving for a sustainable future. It’s a bottom-up approach to sustainability, fully utilizing and respecting the resources we are fortunate to enjoy. Gruten, as a small company in Oslo, shows that you don’t need to be a large enterprise in order to take sustainability seriously, and making a difference. A simple idea can make a simple product, which serves both our hands and the environment!
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