Wil Sillen's post

Creative with coffee grounds: these Dutch companies already are
By: Hannah van der Korput

Every year, 100 million kilos of coffee grounds end up as residual waste. These Dutch companies do not see coffee grounds as waste, but as a raw material. They collect it and give the residual flow a new purpose.
The Dutch are coffee lovers. And from all those cups of coffee, a huge amount of coffee grounds remains. For every kilo of beans, you get 2.5 kilos of coffee grounds back. This often ends up in the incinerator, while with a little imagination and good will many applications are possible. The following Dutch companies are already creative with coffee grounds.

Circle of Beans from Ede transforms coffee grounds into biogas. This is done through fermentation, co-founder Patrick Koster said earlier. “When we bring fresh coffee to our customers, we immediately take back the collected coffee grounds and put them in a reactor. This is where the process from which biogases are created takes place. It was quite a search to find the right bacterial culture, temperature and filtration to break down the coffee grounds and turn it into biogas; mono-fermentation is really top sport.”

The company roasts the coffee beans it sells itself. This is done with a coffee roaster that is fired by biogas. In addition, the gas from the coffee grounds is used as fuel. “Our vans also run on coffee grounds. This is pumped into the car with a hose.”

And then coffee has another residual flow: coffee pulp. Circle of Beans also wants to find a solution for this. “Nothing is usually done with the coffee pulp that remains in countries of origin. That goes into the air as CO2 and then it really flows into millions. We have made a design to put that pulp back into a similar (local) digester. We turn this into a lot of energy (CNG) that local farmers can use for their vans and high-quality fertilizers, so that plastic is no longer needed," says Koster.
Cups, notebooks and lamps
Gorinchem Coffee Based prevents coffee grounds from disappearing into the incinerator. Instead, it makes circular products. For example, the coffee grounds are used to make notebooks, but biobased cups are also possible. The grounds from two cups of coffee are enough to make one reusable cup. Coffee Based also makes lampshades, plant pots and even entire furniture from the remains of coffee.

The company collects the coffee grounds for a surcharge from various parties such as Leiden University, Tennet and the municipality of Gouda. A special coffee grounds collection bin is placed on location. When it is full, the container is exchanged for a clean one. Part of the surcharge is returned to the partners as store credit. They can buy products made from their own coffee grounds at a discount.

Oyster mushroom snacks
GRO uses coffee grounds to grow oyster mushrooms. Founder Jan Willem Bosman Jansen discovered in Zimbabwe that oyster mushrooms grow well on the waste from coffee plantations. He successfully copied the concept to the Netherlands.
The oyster mushrooms grow on substrate blocks in which the coffee grounds are processed. The share of coffee grounds accounts for about 25 percent. The remaining 75 percent consists of residual flows from agriculture such as wood flour, hay and natural gypsum. GRO then processes the oyster mushrooms into vegetarian snacks such as croquettes, bitterballen and oyster mushroom burgers. The products are available from wholesalers Sligro and Hanos. They are also supplied to various caterers and catering establishments.

General Manager Wouter Muis recently said: “We turn coffee grounds, which is waste for many companies, into something useful. Parties that provide us with coffee grounds can then purchase products grown from their own residual flows. That idea is catching on.”

  • Munene Mugambi

    7 w

    This is an approach that really goes to great lengths to cut wastage in the coffee sector. I only wish others will adopt this method to ensure after coffee production, we can get more use out of the coffee grounds.

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