The reopening of a café – a year after closing due to lockdown – could mark a milestone in Cornwall’s drive towards a ‘circular economy’ with little or no waste.

Origin Coffee‘s Penryn café, the Warehouse, will serve take-away to customers from next Wednesday (April 14) in line with revised national Covid restrictions.

The company has worked with circular economy experts from the University of Exeter’s nearby Penryn Campus as it seeks to eliminate waste from its operations.

Origin has hired a chef from Silo, a ‘zero-waste’ restaurant in London, to oversee the food offering at its new roastery in Porthleven, and aims to track both waste and carbon emissions in order to reach net zero at its shops.

“The biggest change happening in our industry is in materials and packaging,” said Andy Phillips, operations director at Origin Coffee.

“We’re looking at all aspects of this. We already use compostable materials for coffee capsule machines, and we want to work with the university on biodegradable take-away cups.

“Cornwall is a place where people care about the environment, so it makes sense for Cornwall to play a leading role in a ‘green recovery’ from the Covid pandemic.

“We’re excited that our Penryn café is reopening, and we plan to continue working with the University of Exeter to improve our sustainability and help the whole coffee industry do the same.”

Origin recently became a certified B Corporation, meaning it meets high standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.

It has worked with Tevi – a project led by the University of Exeter to grow Cornish businesses and improve the environment.

The initial work focussed on identifying potential sources for their waste products, and the Tevi team are currently working on creating a small-scale composting facility for use by companies such as Origin.

Commenting on the café reopening, Dr Stephen Lowe, an Industrial Impact Fellow at the University of Exeter, said: “It feels like something of a milestone since it’s been closed since the first lockdown.

“Origin are a key business locally – a Cornish business that has grown to be nationally recognised.

“As shown by their certification as a B Corp, Origin are driven by environmental sustainability, and have worked with Tevi and the University of Exeter on a number of challenges around the circular economy, and the environmental impact of the coffee industry locally, nationally and internationally.”