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Map Coffee applauded for its commitment to recycling in Coffee 4 Planet Ark’s Report

11 Sep, 2019

  • Map Coffee
  • recycling
  • Australia
  • coffee grounds
  • sustainability

We love our coffee but we don't love the amount of greenhouse gases our beans emit when they're left to decompose in landfill. Australians consume over 6 billion cups of coffee every year, with the majority of the coffee grounds ending up in the garbage, destined for landfill. Once all the goodness is brewed out of the espresso coffee, the waste that is leftover is referred to as Spent Coffee Grounds (SCG).

In 2016, with the support of the City of Sydney, Planet Ark released a feasibility study into the collection and recycling of SCG. This report showed that 93% are sent to landfill with only 7% repurposed or recycled.

While these dirt-like dregs may seem useless, they actually contain valuable chemical compounds and can be converted into new materials with useful properties. Planet Ark has trialed a collection and repurposing programme for coffee grounds in Sydney and Melbourne to see if it’s possible to capture these valuable resources on a nationwide scale and its findings are now published in a report containing the results of the trial.

Thanks to the support of Coffee 4 Planet Ark’s founding members – TGB Australia via Map Coffee, Grinders Coffee, Lavazza, Allpress Espresso and Genovese Coffee - over 14,000 kg of spent coffee grounds from have been diverted during the trial period (Oct 2018 – Feb 2019), saving over 8,500 kg of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e) emissions from entering the atmosphere. This is equivalent to repurposing the grounds from over 550,000 regular coffees. The trial results have allowed Planet Ark and the coffee industry to understand what a future programme will look like.

Click here to view the report.

The programme has evolved even further since this report with over 17,000 kg of coffee grounds in ONE MONTH avoiding landfill and contributing to creating energy and fertilizer. The next stage of the program will focus on R&D to develop world-first end uses for coffee grounds in partnership with UNSW’s SMaRT Centre who have already created a tile made from coffee grounds. The future work will focus on using coffee grounds in low carbon steel manufacturing and battery manufacturing.

A key finding from this trial is that the ability to aggregate coffee grounds allows for a significant reduction in collection costs and a reduction in the carbon footprint of these collections, thereby improving environmental outputs. It was highlighted that this method is something that only TGB has continued and refined since the end of the trial.

Planet Ark expressed their congratulations to the Map Coffee team for the continued development of their coffee collection service which is leading the way in creating a viable solution for customers. In 2019 alone Map Coffee tripled the amount of coffee grounds collected weekly. In total they have diverted almost 4,500 kg of coffee from landfill, saving over 2,500 kg of CO2-e emissions from entering the atmosphere!

Congratulations to our colleagues in Australia for leading the industry in this important initiative.

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