Ground Zero

A good exfoliator is a summer must-have, either as a first step before self-tanning or just to keep skin smooth and glowing. Beauty editor Sara Niven talks to a new company producing one with a difference.

Ground Zero

After receiving a cafetière as a gift, William Brightman started enjoying a cup of fresh coffee each morning. But being an environmentally aware kind of chap his thoughts soon turned to what was happening to all the freshly brewed grounds from his cup and the 55 million others drunk each day in the UK. After discovering that 500,000 tonnes of coffee grounds are sent to UK landfill every year and that far from being harmless, these actually decompose to produce the greenhouse gas methane, William wondered if something couldn't be done.
Together with his sister Anna, he set up the beauty company Optiat. Standing for 'One person's trash is another's treasure', their new range of four vegan-friendly face and body scrubs are all based on repurposed spent coffee grounds.
'We've had fantastic feedback with people loving the fact we're a company providing an alternative to our current "take, make, dispose" world,' explains Anna. 'But in addition, the products are lovely to use and effective too – the fine grounds act as a natural, microbead-free exfoliator that leaves skin glowing. The caffeine stimulates blood circulation which some claim can be effective against skin conditions like eczema, acne, cellulite and stretch marks.'
The pair have struck a deal to collect coffee grounds weekly from more than 40 London-based artisanal cafés and restaurants, saving the companies the cost of disposal while benefitting from their waste products. They only use Arabica coffee grounds, the highest-grade coffee bean available. After collecting the coffee, natural ingredients such as brown sugar, Himalayan salt, shea butter and natural essential oils are added.
'Once the coffee goes down the drain in the form of our natural scrub there is no environmental impact, so it has two eco-advantages in using coffee that would otherwise rot in landfill as well as replacing scrubs using harmful microbeads,' adds Anna.
Optiat For the Love of Scrub products start from £6.99 at www.optiat.co.uk. Look out for the imminent launch of their new range of face masks based on hemp husks.

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