In Circular economy

BioBags capture OTR coffee grounds to close the loop for charity

Australian made BioBags are capturing used coffee grounds from OTR stores across South Australia to be collected by Foodbank SA for composting into a Neutrog soil fertiliser, with part proceeds from sales of the product going to Foodbank SA.

The Human Beans™ – Grounds For Good project is a collaboration between BioBag World Australia, Foodbank SA, Neutrog Australia, Detpak and On The Run (OTR) – one of the biggest takeaway coffee retailers in South Australia.  OTR is the equivalent of 7 Eleven in SA.

BioBag’s coffee knock tube liners are certified compostable and designed to divert used coffee grounds away from landfills so these valuable organic resources can be recovered.

“BioBag is really excited about this project because it aligns perfectly with our goal of keeping organics out of landfill,” said BioBag World Australia Director Scott Morton.

“It also supports Foodbank to help anyone in the local community experiencing food insecurity with food relief at the same time.”

Foodbank SA has been collecting surplus food from all OTR stores and turning them into meals for the past three years. Neutrog’s Human Beans™ product, packaged by Detpak, will be for sale in the same OTR outlets where the coffee grounds are collected.

“We’ve truly created the circular economy by working with Foodbank, Neutrog and OTR to divert this valuable resource out of landfill and return it to the earth,” said Mr Morton.

“BioBags are certified to the Australian Standard AS4736 for compostability. When a product is certified compostable, it will completely biodegrade in the presence of oxygen and microorganisms, leaving no microplastics or toxic residues behind.

“BioBags break down just like plants in a composting environment to enable the circular economy in a virtuous cycle,” Mr Morton said.

Australians consume around six billion coffees a year, with the waste created going to landfill almost immediately, according to a recent Planet Ark report. In South Australia alone, an estimated 14,500 tonnes of coffee waste goes to landfill each year.

OTR estimates there is potential to collect over 200 tonnes of coffee grounds in a year from their 150 stores.

The initial trial involves 11 OTR stores and an estimated collection of 75kg of used coffee grounds a day until 30 November 2020.

Foodbank SA CEO Greg Pattinson with On The Run (OTR)’s Joann Skene and BioBag Australia Director Scott Morton (photo: Mark Brake)

Head of R&D at Neutrog, microbiologist Dr Uwe Stroeher, says Neutrog’s fertilisers are manufactured from a composted chicken manure base which ensures consistency and uniformity of material available from very few other sources besides coffee.

“Used coffee grounds are a unique biological input, but unprocessed can negatively impact plant growth. What releases all of their potential is the process of composting the raw coffee grounds,” Dr Uwe said. “From a microbiological perspective, I’m really interested to see if the trial of Human Beans™ fertiliser can further explore coffee’s ability to inhibit parthenogenic microbes whilst at the same time proliferating the number of beneficial microbes.”

If the trial proves successful, Neutrog could look to increase its partnerships with other retailers and the Human Beans™ product will be available for purchase in 2021. For every one kilogram pack of fertiliser sold, five meals will be put on the table to help those in need. For more information on Human Beans™ visit the Foodbank SA website.

From L to R/ Marilena Tripodi from BioBag World Australia, Sarah Davies from Foodbank SA, Joann Skene from OTR, Tracy Bawden from Neutrog & BioBag World Australia Director Scott Morton.

About BioBag

The BioBag factory in the Adelaide suburb of Netley makes single-use plastic alternatives that can be composted to create nutrient-rich soil, enabling a circular economy. BioBag products are made from a compostable resin called Mater-Bi produced by Novamont, an Italian research company dedicated to compostable alternatives to traditional plastics.