Coffee 4 Planet Ark: Feasibility Study & Trial Report - Planet Ark Environmental Foundation

Coffee 4 Planet Ark: Feasibility Study & Trial Report

Research Report

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Research Report

August 1st, 2019

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In 2016, with the support of the City of Sydney, Planet Ark undertook a feasibility study into the collection and repurposing of spent coffee ground waste. In 2018, we were supported by Founding Member Allpress Espresso, Genovese Coffee, Grinders Coffee, Lavazza Australia and Tata Global Beverages via their Map coffee brand to trial a collection system in Sydney and Melbourne.

For years we have relied on a linear model of consumption where resources are taken from the earth, consumed and then disposed of. Earth Overshoot Day marks the day when we have exhausted the ecological resources and services the planet can provide for the year. In 2019 this day landed on the 29th of July, meaning in just 7 months we have used more than the planet can provide in a whole year.

The growing acknowledgement that we have an urgent need to protect our finite resources and reduce emissions has led to a global movement towards the circular economy. The circular economy shifts the way we extract resources, make, consume and dispose of products to ensure emissions are reduced and resources are efficiently used and kept in circulation as long as possible. For the vast majority, the current model of the coffee industry firmly sits within the linear model of take, make and dispose. The energy and resources used to grow, harvest, ship, roast, package and distribute coffee are wasted when the grounds are sent to landfill after extraction.

Planet Ark is calling for the coffee industry leaders to implement circular economy principles within their core business through;

  1. Designing out coffee waste and pollution: Given the nature of extracting coffee, it isn’t possible to design out waste from the product, however you can open up pathways for this waste to become a resource, while also eliminating the methane pollution created from coffee grounds rotting in landfill.

  2. Keeping coffee as a resource in circulation for as long as possible: Through funding R&D, coffee ‘waste’ will become an important resource in other manufacturing processes.

Coffee 4 Planet Ark: Feasibility Study

PDF (5.59 MB)

Coffee 4 Planet Ark: Trial Report

PDF (5.77 MB)


Nell MacDonald

Australian Circular Economy Hub Manager

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