Dear Environmentality Listeners,
To all the coffee lovers out there, and in Melbourne there are many, have you often wondered whether coffee grounds could serve a useful purpose other than waste? Smokey and Jaime spoke with Shane Genziuk, founder of the Ground to Ground initiatve, about how we can make better use of coffee grounds, in our gardens.
Shane Genziuk is a self-confessed coffee addict. Around two years ago, he started to research used coffee grounds, finding that several tonnes are produced in Melbourne's CBD alone every day. Most of this goes to landfill, contributing to the production of methane gas. The Ground to Ground initiative was created to make people more aware of the opportunity to recycle or reuse coffee grounds.
Shane found that coffee grounds can be extremely beneficial in gardening. Shane has created a wonderful website http://groundtoground.org/ which helps educate people about using coffee grounds in their gardens. A few helpful pointers for gardeners:
- Coffee grounds have 2% nitrogen by weight, thereby acting like a slow release fertiliser.
- Worms love coffee grounds. Attracting worms into the soil improves its condition, resulting in healthier plants.
- You can put coffee grounds into your garden without composting first. However it is important to dig coffee grounds into the soil. Otherwise, a crust is formed on the surface, preventing moisture and oxygen getting in to the soil.
- In the compost, coffee grounds help generate heat and retain water. These are ideal conditions for composting.
- Coffee grounds are sterile, with most of the caffeine having been removed during the coffee brewing process. There are historical references to coffee grounds being used for animal feed, with people currently reporting success with feeding chickens.
The important step is to actually obtain the used coffee grounds from cafes that would otherwise go to waste. This is where you, Environmentality listeners can help. Simply ask your local cafe owner for their coffee grounds. Alternatively, the Ground to Ground website features a map detailing the location of Melbourne cafes which are happy to pass on their coffee grounds.
The Ground to Ground initiative is inspiring many people around the world, not just in Melbourne, to take action by reusing this otherwise waste product. Congratulations to Shane and his team on this initiative. If you missed the interview, the podcast is now available online to listen to.