Waste management: focus on sustainability

Coffee is a day-to-day product and the process of creating coffee takes various steps. In all these steps we can review our process and implement tips and tricks to become more sustainable. In this article, we discuss topics such as how to recycle used coffee grounds, milk, and cups.

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In our last article, we talked about the different aspects on how to be more sustainable in the roasting business. Haven’t read that one yet? Click here to read it. This time we dive further into the topic ‘waste management’. Coffee is a day-to-day product and the process of creating coffee takes various steps. In all these steps we can review our process and implement tips and tricks to become more sustainable. In this article, we discuss topics such as how to recycle used coffee grounds, milk, and cups.

Recycle your used coffee grounds

Used coffee grounds are often discarded in the trash but as you might already know there are a lot of things you can do to reuse these grounds. Here are some examples:

  • Coffee grounds; as fertilizer

Coffee can improve the quality of your garden. Because coffee grounds are high in nitrogen, you can use them as a fertilizer. As a company there are a few things you can do:

    • Use the coffee grounds as fertilizer yourself and/or encourage your employees to do it (too).

    • Sell the coffee grounds as an extra product to customers. Depending on the demand, you can decide if you charge money or give it away for free.

  • Coffee grounds; repellent against pests

This year, in many places, we were plagued by large numbers of wasps. You couldn’t sit back and simply enjoy your food/drinks. This might have happened to you too (at home or at your business). Good to know: coffee grounds work repellent against pests! Most pests have a strong smell and coffee grounds have a very powerful scent when they are burned. This scent keeps the pests away. Next to this, the smoke of burning the coffee grounds is a sign of danger for most bugs and they intend to stay away from this. Follow these steps to burn used coffee grounds:

    • Use coffee grounds that are dry

    • Place these grounds in a bowl or put them on a plate.

    • Burn the grounds by using a lighter or match. You can use, for example, leaves if the grounds don’t start smoldering.

    • Pick a good /strategic spot to place your bowl or plate.

Weigh your coffee

To make a cup of coffee, you need a certain amount of coffee. By knowing the amount of coffee you need, instead of guessing, you can save a lot of beans. At the same time, you’re saving yourself money; a win-win situation. In order to make a great cup of coffee, make sure to weigh your water too. The consistent aspect ratio of coffee and water is crucial.

Milk

If you save all the leftover milk till the end of the day, you might be shocked about how much milk there’s being thrown away each day. Here are a few tips on how to save more milk:

  • Use the right amount of milk. Don’t focus on the amount of milk to make it look pretty.

  • Install a milk dispensing system. This helps you to have the right amount of milk each time.

Paper cups

Paper cups are one of the largest problems in de coffee industry if we’re talking about being good for the environment. Annually lots of paper cups are being trowed away and not recycled. Most of the time paper cups also are coated with a plastic layer. This makes the cup more resistant to heat but also makes it harder to recycle. So what can we do to make this problem less of a problem? Here are some ideas:

  • Give your customers the option to buy coffee with a reusable cup. After this, whenever the customer brings their cup and orders coffee he/she gets a discount. The benefit of selling a reusable cup is that your customized mugs are good branding for your company.

  • Charge a little bit extra for paper cups and donate that little bit extra to an environmental cause. Make sure your customers know that you do this because this is also good for your brand image.

More ways to recycle used coffee grounds

Looking for more ways to recycle used coffee grounds? Or do you want to show your customers the benefits of reusing used coffee grounds? Stay tuned! In the next couple of weeks, we will post an article with lots of ways to reuse your used coffee grounds.

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