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Frequently Asked Questions

Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world, and in the UK alone we drink 98 million cups of the stuff every day. Coffee beans are actually the seed of a fruit, and the drink we’re familiar with is made by harvesting, washing, drying, roasting and grinding coffee beans, before brewing those grounds. The used coffee grounds that are left at the end of the brewing process have a value, and there are a number of different ways they can be kept in use if separated and collected.  

Businesses found coffee grounds are wet, heavy and difficult to dispose of.  Coffee grounds can quickly fill food waste bins, and in some cases, used coffee grounds from smaller cafes do end up in landfill.  What’s more, when food waste ends up in landfill it emits methane – a planet-harming greenhouse gas with a global warming potential 27 times greater than carbon dioxide. 

That makes it really important that we recycle any food and drink waste we can’t avoid. What’s even better though is to stop food and drink from becoming ‘waste’ in the first place. 

Some food and drink by-products and residues, like coffee grounds, can actually add value to other goods and materials. Keeping them in use generates environmental as well as community benefits, and sometimes economic ones too. 

Why not take a look at our Grounds for Recycling business case-studies and at-home toolkits to find out more about what’s possible. 

Funnily enough, used coffee grounds are actually alkaline. Still, there’s a process to using coffee grounds as part of your soil improver to ensure your plants are as happy and healthy as possible. 

The Glasgow Botanic Gardens staff are experts on this. Check out The Glasgow Botanic Gardens Official Coffee Composting Recipe, created exclusively for our campaign, or the rest of our at-home toolkit to learn how to effectively garden with coffee grounds. 

One of Grounds for Recycling’s main goals is to inspire businesses to commit to post-campaign sustainability. We aim to do this by showing that there is value in materials that might traditionally be seen as waste, encouraging innovative and collaborative solutions that can be delivered locally.  

We've also published an Evaluation Report in which we present further opportunities for coffee ground recycling in Glasgow. If you’re interested in being part of a long-term solution to coffee waste, check out our Petition.

According to Circular Glasgow, a circular economy is one that explicitly challenges societal overproduction and overconsumption. In a circular economy products and materials are kept in high-value use for as long as possible, relieving pressure on finite natural resources and making the most of goods we already have in circulation. 

You can read more about the principles of a circular economy here. Circular businesses use these principles to help reduce demand on primary resources, and look at how they can use any by-products or “waste” somewhere else.  

Many Grounds for Recycling participants are already taking real steps to becoming more sustainable. Lots of venues already buy from local suppliers, such as Dear Green Coffee and Mossgiel Organic Farm, which helps to reduce food miles and cut their respective carbon footprints. Why not check out our case-studies to read about the local businesses making leaps and bounds on their circular journey  

In partnership with the UCI, Grounds for Recycling promoted the power of the bike as a method of active travel that encourages a healthy, active lifestyle. And if there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that cyclists love their coffee! Take Sir Chris Hoy, a self-proclaimed coffee fanatic, or Jenny Graham, our very own Grounds for Recycling cyclist ambassador! A caffeine charged coffee can also give hard core cyclists a much-needed boost on a long ride!  To learn more, why not check out Rouvy’s blog, Cycling and Coffee… the perfect combo.

Of course! Coffee isn’t for everyone, but sustainability should be. All participating venues offered plenty of other drinks to keep customers hydrated, and snacks to give them fuel for their journey. Customers were encouraged to check out our map of venues located along local and national cycling routes to find out how they could get around Glasgow during the campaign,  supporting our venues however you chose – all while simultaneously reducing their carbon footprint. 

We’d always recommend that you’re smart about where and how you leave your bikeDon’t worry though! The Glasgow Film Theatre, a fellow sustainable travel advocate, has created a great short video on bike safety that you can check out here. 

We’re always keen to hear from businesses looking to improve their sustainability! As part of our campaign legacy plan, we’ve created a petition for hospitality businesses looking for support in reducing their food waste. Fill out the form here to become part of the circular journey in reducing Glasgow’s food waste.