Elliott Gee spent nearly a decade as a cafe barista before switching to the “other side” of the counter.
“By producing so many coffees, you get a sense of the amount of waste generated in the hospitality industry,” he explained.
Mr Gee and his partner, Kimberley Eaton, recently launched a small Launceston-based business that converts used coffee grounds to compost.
“In just eight weeks, we diverted over two tonnes of coffee grounds from landfill from six cafes,” he explained.
“We’re recycling all the nutrients that would have gone into the bin.”
A simple solution to a complex problem
Mr Gee and Ms Eaton have been passionate about reducing landfill for many years.
“We are aware that our daily actions generate significant waste,” Ms Eaton explained.
“Organic waste is a massive issue, and one that I believe has a relatively simple solution.”
She asserts that a composting system that allows for the return of soil nutrients to the community from which they originated is an easy way for individuals and communities to manage waste without requiring government intervention.
“Plus, it will benefit the hospitality industry,” Mr Gee added.
He explained that once his company “closed the loop” by returning coffee-enriched compost to the cafes that provided used grounds, those businesses would be able to grow “more food and healthier food” to serve.
Ms Eaton and Mr Gee collect used coffee grounds from Launceston cafes each Wednesday morning and distribute them to local community gardens, farms, and backyard gardens the following day.
Ms Eaton stated that their business, Golden Brown, was the first of its kind in Tasmania in terms of recycling coffee waste.
Six cafes have signed up so far, with each paying $15 for every 75 kilogrammes of coffee grounds removed.