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.
Thanks to the support of our Founding Members, Allpress Espresso, Genovese, Grinders, Lavazza and TATA Global Beverages via their Map Coffee brand, Planet Ark was able to trial a coffee ground collection and repurposing trial in Sydney.
Over this trial we;
- Repurposed over 13 tonnes of spent coffee grounds. This is equivalent to repurposing the grounds from over 550,000 coffees.
- Saved over 8.5 tonnes for carbon dioxide equivalent from entering the atmosphere.
We are now working with the industry to fund research and development to find a high-value end use for coffee grounds. This development will allow us to develop a sustainable collection system with the important goal of keeping coffee grounds from landfill.
Looking for a solution for your coffee grounds?
While we are working on a national solution for coffee grounds, it is important that we are doing all we can to keep them out of landfill.
If you are a cafe go to our Business Recycling Page to find out more.
If you are looking for a solution for coffee grounds from your home, check out our Recycling Near You page for food scraps for more information.
Are you a coffee roaster and want to be a part of creating a national solution to coffee ground waste?
If you are part of the coffee industry and are interested in supporting the Planet Ark's Research & Development initiatives we would love to hear from you!
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- 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