Finding grounds for recycling

GREAT GRINDS: Co-owner of The Hopper Society Coffee Bar, John Bunter pictured between Jade Baillie and Samantha Van Arkel is keen to recycle coffee grounds.	Photo: ADAM WRIGHT

GREAT GRINDS: Co-owner of The Hopper Society Coffee Bar, John Bunter pictured between Jade Baillie and Samantha Van Arkel is keen to recycle coffee grounds. Photo: ADAM WRIGHT

WHILE Australians are increasing their coffee consumption, it raises the question about what is happening to all those coffee grounds.

Co-owner of the Hyams Beach Store and Cafe, Phoebe Alison, has implemented a major composting and recycling program at the cafe.

“We went from having to use six on-street bins for our rubbish down to one bin,” Ms Alison said, adding that the majority of that had been achieved through composting.

Ms Alison, who owns and runs the store with her parents, Chris and Sue Alison, said that despite the obvious economic benefits it was great to do something good for the world.

The cafe used to just put it on the garden onsite but with an increase in consumption, especially in the summer months, it became too much.  

The family instigated a massive composting program which sees both the used coffee grounds as well as ordinary food scraps composted at the Alison’s home property.

“On a busy week at the height of the summer trade the cafe will use between 80 to 90 kilos of coffee,” Ms Alison said.

“Dad started a composting system which layers the ordinary compost with the coffee grounds. When that is composted it’s used for the fruit trees and garden. 

In a lovely illustration of the circle of life, the produce from those trees makes its way back to the cafe.

“There is an obvious economical benefit but the environmental aspect is more important to us,” Ms Alison said.

The cafe also has worms and chickens onsite. 

John Bunter, co-owner of Nowra’s newest coffee spot, The Hopper Society Coffee Bar, would love to recycle their coffee grounds.

“We aim to compost and recycle as much as possible,” he said.

“If anyone is interested to come and collect our grounds we would be really happy to work with them.

Save the world one cup at a time

Drinking coffee is a daily activity for many people across the world. Whether you use an espresso coffee machine, a percolator or a pod machine, you might be wondering how you can avoid throwing all those spent coffee grounds into the garbage. 

Here are some top tips to help reuse and recycle:

• Coffee grounds are acidic so spread them generously over flower beds of acid-loving plants such as azaleas, rhododendrons and hydrangeas.

• When planting carrot and radish seeds, mix them liberally with coffee grounds before you plant and double your harvest.

• The grounds are loaded with phosphorous, potassium, magnesium and copper. As they degrade they release nitrogen which makes rich compost for fruit trees.

• Sprinkle the grounds around places you don’t want ants, or on the ant hills themselves. Used grounds also repel snails and slugs.

• Apparently the grounds are also the main ingredient in many high-priced cellulite creams. To make your own cream simply mix a quarter of a cup of warm coffee grounds with one tablespoon of oil and apply liberally to problem areas. Wrap with plastic wrap, let set for 10 minutes, unwrap and shower normally. 

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