Grounds for change, the new environmental push

Cafes and coffee shops have been encouraged to further reduce their environmental footprint, following the announcement of Planet Ark’s new Coffee 4 Planet Ark trial.

The trial, which aims to divert spent coffee grounds from landfill and repurpose them into higher value end uses, will run on an initial two month basis beginning in September in Sydney.

Leading coffee roasters and Founding Members; Allpress Espresso, Genovese Coffee, Grinders Coffee and Lavazza will serve as primarily collaborators with Tata Global Beverages via its Map Coffee brand collecting spent coffee grounds from limited corporate businesses in Melbourne.

The move comes following a series of anti-plastic movements across the country, with a particular push from coffee roasters and retailers.

The national program is due to be rolled out in 2019, following the refinement of a cost-effective collection method.

Paul Klymenko, Planet Ark CEO said the Coffee 4 Planet Ark initiative was an important step in ensuring spent coffee grounds were being repurposed rather than entering landfill.

‘We are thrilled to be working with some of Australia’s leading coffee roasters to trial a collection and repurposing system for coffee ground waste,” Klymenko said.

‘Currently, the vast majority of coffee grounds produced after extracting your coffee are going to landfill. Planet Ark believes in creating a circular economy where all resources are used to their greatest potential.”

Planet Ark has begun work with the SMaRT Centre at the university of New South Wales to find and develop new end uses for coffee grounds, trailing them in potential manufacturing processes.

The foundation has also secured Circular Food as a Circular Economy partner to produce a nutrient rich soil fertiliser called Big Bio, which will utilise collected grounds.

In 2016, Planet Ark conducted a feasibility study that found almost 2800 tonnes of spent coffee grounds were sent to landfill each year in Sydney alone.

Once in landfill, the spent coffee grounds break down without the presence of oxygen, a process that creates methane, a potent greenhouse gas with over 25 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide.

Planet Ark believes the diversion of spent coffee grounds from landfill in Sydney alone will save approximately 1600 tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions annually.

Cafes who are customers of Allpress Espresso, Genovese Coffee, Grinders Coffee or Lavazza and are located in the following postcodes are welcome to participate in the trial; 2000, 2008, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2043.

Cafes of other coffee roasters can contact their roaster and let them know they are interested in being involved once the program begins to roll out in early 2019.