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Small business rescues Australian Open coffee waste

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
22 January 2020 2 minute readShare

A small business making a difference, Reground has kicked off its Australia Open initiative which will see the coffee ground recycling business reuse the thousands of discarded coffee grounds from the coffee-loving crowds.

Reground, a business born out of the imagination of barista Ninna Larsen, exists to help businesses help the environment, by making sure any coffee, chaff or soft plastic waste doesn't end up in a landfill.

Last year, just under 800,000 tennis fans walked through Melbourne Park in one week alone. Recognising the sheer size of the crowd and Australia’s strong coffee culture, Ms Larsen decided to put her business up to the test.

“We have partnered with Lavazza and the Australian Open to make sure that all of their coffee waste from the Lavazza stalls and also the plastic waste from the Australian Open gets kept here in Melbourne and reused locally, instead of it going to landfills and being taken far away,” Ms Larsen explained to My Business.

“That means that all the coffee ground that is being produced through Lavazza is going into our Reground bins and we’ll be collecting it and taking it back to local gardens, community gardens, where it will be used either in compost, turned into fertiliser or in other amazing, innovative ways.”

Ms Larsen revealed that over 200,000 cups of coffee are expected to be consumed during the tournament, which equals the amount a medium-sized café would produce over the course of a whole year.

This means Reground has its job cut out for it, with a tonne of coffee grounds likely to be used in two weeks.

“It is a very big job, because it’s very intense in these two weeks and it’s a lot coffee being consumed.”

Ms Larsen explained that it’s important that big businesses and events like this build awareness and take action when it comes to sustainability.

“I honestly don’t think business have an excuse any more for not doing the right thing when it comes to wastes. We’re not just talking about separating, we’re talking about where it ends. Because putting stuff in the bin that is just taken 300 kilometres away is no longer good enough,” she opined.

“In Melbourne, for example, businesses have an option of diverting it locally and that is what we need to see more of.”

Ms Larsen called on businesses to step up to the challenge and make sure waste is kept close to where it is produced.

Saving café waste from landfills

Denmark-raised Ninna Larsen was inspired to launch Reground, having discovered that she would contribute an estimated 16kg of coffee ground into landfill each day while working as a barista in Melbourne.

Reground works with cafés, restaurants and other local businesses to curb the amount of waste going to landfill, instead gifting the coffee ground and chaff to home and community gardeners for composting.

Since first launching a website through Godaddy in March 2015, Reground now works with more than 70 cafés across Melbourne and has plans to expand into Australia’s other major cities.

Small business rescues Australian Open coffee waste
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Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
Maja Garaca Djurdjevic

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic is the editor of My Business. 

Maja has a decade-long career in journalism across finance, business and politics. Now a well-versed reporter in the SME and accounting arena, prior to joining Momentum Media, Maja reported for several established news outlets in Southeast Europe, scrutinising key processes in post-conflict societies and enabling citizens to influence decision-making.

You can email Maja on [email protected] 

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