There is no doubt that Australians love coffee. We consume 6 billion cups each year!
The ABC's War on Waste brought the issue of disposable coffee cups to the attention of the public, but have you ever thought about the leftover coffee grounds and what happens to them?
In 2016, with the support of the City of Sydney, Planet Ark released a feasibility study into the collection and recycling of spent coffee grounds (SCG). This report showed that 93% are sent to landfill with only 7% repurposed or recycled.
Spent coffee grounds are an important resource, rich in nutrients and minerals which are currently being wasted in landfill. Many different uses for SCG are being explored around the world, from odour busting clothing to biodiesel. It's important to repurpose SCG to make use of this fantastic resource and avoid the methane produced when sent to landfill. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, over 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide, and is created when organic materials break down without the presence of oxygen in landfill.
We are excited to be trialling a new program at the end of 2018 - Coffee 4 Planet Ark, where we will be collecting SCG from Sydney cafes and Melbourne corporate businesses, diverting them from landfill, recycling them into compost and soil fertiliser and researching other potential higher value end uses.
This trial has been made possible thanks to the support from our foundation members Allpress Espresso, Genovese Coffee, Grinders Coffee, Lavazza and TATA Global Beverages. These businesses are leading the way in sustainability, innovation and are taking responsibility for the end of life of their product.
Thanks to their wonderful support we will be able to determine the best and most cost effective way to collect and repurpose SCG. We hope to develop a national collection and recycling model so all Australians can know the environmental impact of their flat white has been minimised.
Interested in hearing more?
- If you are a café based in Sydney and interested in being involved in the trial please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If you are a coffee roaster who is interested in offering your customers a coffee grounds collection and recycling service, please contact email@example.com.
- If you would like to keep up to date with the progress of this program and the rest of Planet Ark's work please subscribe to our newsletter.
Circular Economy Partner