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Beyond the bin: giving biowaste a second life

Cities across Europe are working with researchers to turn organic waste such as coffee grounds into valuable goods.

The EU-funded WaysTUP! project is tackling the issue of coffee grounds waste by exploring innovative ways to recycle organic waste from European cities. Coffee grounds, a byproduct of brewing coffee, often end up in landfills where they emit methane during decomposition, contributing to the climate crisis. However, WaysTUP! is transforming coffee grounds into high-quality food ingredients, such as natural pigments and antioxidants, through chemical and extraction processes. The project, coordinated by Spanish waste-management company SAV, also collaborates with other partners to collect, process, and refine bio-based products.

One partner, UK-based bio-bean, extracts coffee oil from grounds and upscales it into products like barbecue charcoal, heating logs, and even bioplastics. Bio-bean receives large quantities of coffee grounds from chains like Costa and Starbucks, dries the grounds, extracts the oil, and converts it into bio-degradable polyesters for bioplastics. This innovative recycling process demonstrates that waste can be turned into valuable resources. The project also expands beyond coffee, as SAV uses meat and fish by-products to create proteins for animal feed, compost, bio-fertilizers, construction materials, and cosmetics ingredients. Another initiative inspired by WaysTUP!, called HOOP, is working to develop expertise and networks for recycling biowaste in European cities, aiming to reduce landfill waste and promote green jobs. The projects aim to raise awareness about the potential of bio-recycled products through public events, exhibitions, and media outreach.

Read the original full text of the magazine article here.

Document Details and Download

Date published
8 May 2023
Journal Magazine
Horizon The EU Research and Innovation Magazine
Publisher (Company, Organisation)
European Commission

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