LG H&H has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Korean start-up Urban Miners to cooperate on processing coffee grounds and producing activated carbon, or coffee charcoal, as an ingredient.
As coffee charcoal has a high carbon content and excellent absorption properties, LG H&H and Urban Miners plan to study how the coffee charcoal can be used to absorb excess oil and detoxify impurities from the skin.
Activated charcoal is an immensely popular ingredient in beauty and personal care. It is found in a range of products including facial masks, pore strips, shampoo, and toothpaste.
Additionally, the FMCG firm will explore how it can use coffee charcoal as a deodorant for its household products.
“We hope that developing new carbon-reducing biomaterials can meet the needs of [millennials and Gen Z] consumers. Through collaboration with LG Household & Health Care, we hope to grow it into a global champion,” said Urban Miner CEO Na Yong-hoon
LG H&H will provide coffee grounds, which are the by-products of manufacturing its coffee beverages.
Furthermore, the company is considering plans to process the charcoal for use in farms in the vicinity of its Haitai Beverage manufacturing plant.
Urban Miner was established in 2016 by Na, who set out to develop an eco-friendly alternative fuel.
Activated charcoal made from coffee beans is considered a high-quality functional biomaterial because it does not contain harmful substances.
According to the start-up, the process of upcycling coffee grounds into charcoal is a complicated process and it is the only company that has been able to commercialise it.
The coffee charcoal is made through a special process of drying and heat-treating coffee grounds. Urban Miners claims that its manufacturing methods are “clean and harmless” for the environment.
Urban Miners have previously used this activated carbon to develop filters for water and air purifiers as well as fertiliser. It is also working on developing health supplements and solid fuel from its coffee charcoal.
This project with Urban Miners is aligned with LG H&H environmental social governance (ESG) goals to promote resource recycling and promote a circular economy.
The company has set a goal to use 200 tonnes of recycled plastic in its products by 2025.
In July this year, the company launched the Borrowed Earth Refill Station where consumers can refill products from LG H&H personal care brands such as Dr. Groot.
The station provides refill containers that are made in part from coconut shells that reduce plastic usage by about 30% and is recyclable.
The company has also set a goal to increase the number of clean beauty products in its portfolio. By 2025, it expects 50% of products to be clean beauty products. This means the products will have to be mindful of its environmental footprint.
Last year the company launched Hempharmx, a clean hair and body care brand. The brand has developed a toothbrush made from an eco-friendly resin made from raw materials extracted from corn starch that is naturally biodegradable.