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June 07, 2024 2 min read

Victoria is giving the phrase "wake up and smell the coffee" a whole new meaning, with an innovative twist, by turning used coffee grounds into concrete footpaths. This 'grounds-breaking' initiative, a collaboration between RMIT University and Macedon Ranges Shire Council, aims to repurpose coffee waste into biochar, offering a sustainable boost to the construction industry. Talk about sustainable sippin'!

From Cup to Curb: How Used Coffee Grounds Build Greener Roads

Australia brews up a hefty 75 million kilograms of coffee waste each year, most of which sadly ends up in landfills. But here's the perk: this waste could replace up to 655 million kilograms of sand in concrete, thanks to its density. Globally, the potential is even more impressive, with 10 billion kilograms of spent coffee capable of substituting up to 90 billion kilograms of sand in concrete production. Yes please!

The team at RMIT has developed the groundbreaking process to convert spent coffee grounds into biochar through a low-energy process at 350 degrees Celsius without oxygen. This biochar not only gives the coffee grounds a "double shot" (could not let this go) at life but also makes the resulting concrete 30% stronger—talk about a strong brew!

In fact, trial footpaths infused with coffee biochar are already being tested in Gisborne to evaluate performance and support further rollout, with plans to expand this approach to other forms of organic waste, aiming to make it a mainstream product for commercial use.

This project is not just about reducing waste; it's also about saving costs and reducing precious virgin resources for the construction industry.

So, next time you're enjoying your morning coffee, remember—those grounds might just end up under your feet, paving the way for a greener, stronger future.

5 Clever Ways to Reuse Coffee Grounds Around the House

If you're looking for some DIY ways to recycle your coffee grounds at home here are a few creative ideas that we can incorporate into our normal coffee routines: 

  1. Make a delicious body scrub: Combine your grounds, some raw sugar and some coconut oil to make a paste and viola - a natural exfoliating self-love scrub! 
  2. Compost Coffee Grounds: Coffee grounds add valuable nitrogen to the compost, which helps to break down other organic matter and create a nutrient-rich soil amendment.
  3. Deodorise your fridge: Yep, coffee grounds are great at neutralising smells. Simply add a bowl of dried coffee grounds in your fridge to keep it smelling fresh.
  4. Clean with them and minimise elbow grease. Think of it like exfoliation for your stove tops and sinks!
  5. Use coffee grounds to dye fabric: Simmer your fabric in a pot of water wiht coffee grounds until you have your desired colour.

    Did you know we turn them into a coffee scrub soap? You can see it here!

    Thanks for tuning in again this week GFZ's, until next time we think you'll love this story here about South Australia banning confetti, bread tags and so much more, it's another of our faves! 

    Much love, 

    Ellie xox 

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