We love Coffee at our place. Every morning for decades now, we have been recycling Coffee Grounds. For us, this means grounds from the morning coffee go into our Compost Bins and eventually into our Garden.
More recently, when we were running our cafe, we were producing countless cups of coffee each day. The supply of used Coffee grounds from the coffee machines was endless.
Some of those were spread around our vegetable gardens to repel Pests. It helped, but they produce an odor, and it is impossible to use all of it that way
Every day, we continually added it to our Compost as well. Even with the best compost tumblers, we could not convert it quickly enough. Try as we might a good deal of it still ended up in plastic bags heading for a landfill.
6 Billions Tons
Now multiply this situation my millions of Cafes around the world. It’s not hard to see how this planet, ends up with some six Billion tons of Coffee waste each year.
The size of this problem reminds me of the endless piles of discarded car tires that sit everywhere. Fortunately, creative people are finding ways to recycle these into roads and oil, but we still can’t keep up.
Italians Recycling Coffee Grounds
Italians love their coffee, so this is a big issue in Italy too.According to a recent
According to a recent New York Times article, some Italian researchers, have been experimenting with using spent Coffee Grounds to purify Water.
Obviously pretty much everything on this planet either comes from or is sustained by water. No water ever leaves the planet, so whatever goes into drains and oceans eventually ends up back in our soil, rivers, lakes and home water supplies I guess.
In the same way, the chemicals in our waterways get left behind in more concentrated forms after evaporation as well.
For this reason, everything we can do to keep water clean and to improve global Hydrobiology is incredibly valuable.
The discovery that coffee grounds can be infused into a foam, which then removes heavy metals like lead or mercury from water as it passes through could be huge for all of us.
The study was published in ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering, and written by Despina Fragouli.
Coffee has been previously tried in a powdered form to catch Lead, but apparently, getting the powder out again is a problem. In this study, a piece of the impregnated foam removed 99% of heavy metals from the sample tank over a 30 hour period.
If this was industrialized, it could be a massive aid to mining companies faced with water containing huge amounts of heavy metals.
As a solution to water filtration, it is a long way from being complete, but one thing is certain.
If a workable solution can be found for recycling coffee grounds, the business that perfects it will have a 6 Billion Ton supply of FREE raw materials globally each year.
Every Cafe owner I know would be happy to have a free service collecting and removing this material from its premises each week. If the outcome is cleaner water for all, and cleaner water going into our next Coffee all the better.