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Academic Coffee Hero

Academic Coffee

Featuring Frank Nguyen | San Jose, CA


Aiming to dramatically reframe the conversation around sustainability, the owner of Academic Coffee is creating a platform to spread the word on green DIY solutions for the coffee industry.

Could you describe your project?

Cafés produce an incredible amount of disposable waste even before serving a single cup to a customer. Our concept is to create a virtual community space for the coffee industry to share sustainable solutions, taking “reduce, reuse, recycle” to a whole new level. Examples include recycling old packaging to reship coffee to our customers, hacking Oatly cartons into drink trays and starter planters, turning wooden pallets into signage and 3D printing cardboard packaging into art and other usable objects… By making sustainability fun and engaging, it will encourage others to join the movement and foster a community of cafés that care about the environment.

In one sentence, what is your ultimate goal with this initiative?

To show everyone that being a sustainable business doesn’t need to be hard, and it starts with small steps.

“Being a sustainable business doesn’t need to be hard, and it starts with small steps... There’s really no time to wait.”

If you had to guess, what will be the biggest challenge with reaching that goal?

Honestly, the most difficult challenge is prioritizing all the things we want to do while still adapting our business in the time of COVID-19.

What is the most important part of your project that you want the world to know about?

Minimizing our carbon footprint and reducing waste needs to become a part of our daily lives immediately. We must normalize reuse when possible, reducing consumption, and recycling. There’s really no time to wait.

What inspired you to get involved in this issue?

I’ve always had a love for the outdoors and came to the realization that action must be taken to preserve nature from the harm caused by us. Luckily, where I grew up, composting was normalized, and I was privileged enough to go to a school where there was an ecology club.

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