Started in 2020, the Sustainable Coffee Grounds Recycling Initiative is aimed at reducing waste, promoting sustainability, and enhancing soil health. The initiative is currently operating in Victoria and has plans to expand across Australia if successful.
- Reduce, Recycle, Reuse: The initiative follows the principles of reduce, recycle, and reuse by collecting used coffee grounds from customers during product deliveries. These grounds are collected using buckets and then washed for reuse.
- Collection and Reuse Process: Customers who opt into the collection process receive their orders in buckets. After use, these buckets are collected during subsequent deliveries and exchanged with spare buckets. The collected buckets are thoroughly washed and reused, minimizing waste.
- Environmental Impact: By reusing buckets and composting coffee grounds, the initiative aims to reduce the carbon footprint associated with waste disposal and encourage sustainable practices.
Composting Coffee Grounds:
- Soil Nutrient Enhancement: Since 2020, the initiative has been composting coffee grounds at a farm in South Western Victoria. Initial soil testing revealed deficiencies in soil nutrients, particularly trace elements, on the light sandy loam soils.
- Nutrient-Rich Coffee Grounds: Coffee grounds were found to contain a range of nutrients. After a composting period, they were deemed suitable for spreading on pastures.
- Soil Improvement: Blending the composted coffee grounds with Bokashi compost and spreading them on pastures was an approach taken to improve organic matter, soil biology, nutrient recycling, and water holding capacity.
Observations following two applications of compost have shown significant improvements in pasture production. A broad scale soil nutrient test has been conducted after each application, testing for nutrient levels of NKPS (Nitrogen, Potassium, Phosphorus and Sulphur), a range of trace elements, PH (Acidity and Alkalinity) as well as an organic matter percentage. Our initial base line test will provide a reference point for further soil testing. Soil data collected over time, combined with visual assessments of pastures to indicate water holding capacity will allow us to conclude what changes are occurring to the soil. Annual soil analysis will continue to track changes in the soil over time.
- Applicability to Home Gardens: The same logic can be applied to home composting and backyard gardens. Composting coffee grounds for about 3-6 months before spreading them on gardens or lawns is recommended, with the composting process being quicker with regular turning and proper moisture levels.
The Sustainable Coffee Grounds Recycling Initiative, is dedicated to reducing waste, promoting sustainability, and improving soil health. By collecting used coffee grounds and reusing buckets, the initiative takes steps toward a more environmentally friendly approach. The success observed in Victoria holds the promise of a nationwide expansion, contributing to a greener and more sustainable future.