Planet Ark News

Coffee Go-Ground

Date: 21-Apr-16
Author: Rebecca Gredley

Coffeeholics Anonymous - for sustainable coffee use © Rebecca Gredley

Do you start your mornings unable to mutter much aside from the word coffee? Find it hard to kick into gear without a caffeine hit? Do you sometimes wonder if your veins are filled with espresso?

If you answered yes to the above, raise your hand and repeat after me – “I am a coffee addict.” Congratulations, you’ve taken the plunge and achieved the hardest step – admitting it.

Planet Ark and the City of Sydney have just launched a new report that shows the 921 cafes in Sydney city produce more than 3,000 tonnes of coffee grounds a year and 93% of that ends up in landfill. As Australians drink 6 billion cups of coffee we’ve put together a few tips to help reduce the impact of our addiction.

City of Sydney Coffee Study

Reuse Reuse and Reuse

It’s estimated that Australians dispose of 1 billion coffee cups each year, most of which have a non-biodegradable plastic lining. These billion cups contain about 60,000 tonnes of plastic which will persist in the environment for years. Taking your own reusable cup, like a KeepCup or even a normal mug, avoids this waste.

Over the past few years coffee pod machines have become increasingly popular. Their convenience has meant they are popping up in homes and workplaces around the country. As a general rule reusable items have a lower resource and waste impact than those designed to be use just once. Most pods are single use so if you’re using a machine find out if the manufacturer has a recycling program like the Nespresso program.

Merry Go-Ground

Spent coffee grounds have a surprisingly wide range of uses around the home. They can be used in the garden as a pest repellent, and as a fertilizer or in the compost or worm farm. They can also be used to absorb food odours in the fridge, to exfoliate skin when mixed with coconut oil and as a cleaner for heavily soiled cooking pots.

On a larger scale the Coffee Ground Recovery Report found that the tonnes of grounds coming out of cafes also have a range of uses. They can be used as a growing agent for mushrooms, can be put into anaerobic digesters to produce energy and can be turned into biochar and added to soil to improve its carbon levels and health. We’re looking at ways to establish a large scale coffee ground recycling program. If you’re interested in finding out more let us know by registering your details or by contacting coffee@planetark.org

Win a Planet Ark KeepCup

Go to our Facebook page and let us know one thing you do to reduce the waste from your daily habit for your chance to win a Planet Ark KeepCup.

  • Recycling Week
  • Business Recycling
  • recycling Near You
  • Make It Wood
  • Tree Day
  • Cartridges for Planet Ark