Coffee grounds fermented for agricultural feed

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Coffee grounds fermented for agricultural feed: Turning pollutant coffee grounds in to agricultural feed!

Townsville, Australia
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Coffee grounds (the remnants of coffee beans after grinding and draining) pose as an international pollutant. By use of anaerobic lactic acid fermentation, these grounds can become silage; an energy concentrate for use within ruminant diets and its ease can be adopted in the first or third world.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if a toxic pollutant could feed the third world?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Think about every cup of coffee made GLOBALLY, the landfill from this is massive while poverty is omnipresent in the third world. The growing coffee landfill reduces land available for agricultural use, which lessens the country's ability to generate food or achieve economic sustainability in the third world. Further, this methodology can be implemented in the first world too, enhancing agricultural efficiency and lessening landfill wastage.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Instead of hauling coffee bean grounds in to landfill they can be used to feed animals including goats, pigs, sheep and cattle as silage. First the bean remnants will need to be treated simply by soaking and draining, to rid excess caffeine. The grounds can then be fermented via the bacterium, Lactobacillus, to preserve the grounds and their nutritional value. Studies have been performed to assess the usefulness of coffee grounds in this context, and states that bean grounds when treated this way can occupy up to 10% of a ruminant's diet (Xu, Cai, Zhang & Ogawa 2007). This is simple enough to be used in the third world, offer more agricultural land use and offer 10% more feed for animals, or up to 16% for pigs (Bras 2011).
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

A farmer in Vietnam has limited land available to him, yet he has 40 cattle that he sells to the local community for food. The land available offers sufficient feed for his 40 cattle, however, if he were to have any more cattle occupy the land then there would not be enough food for the cows, they would lose condition and some may die. However, in his village there are people who can afford to access the animal protein but there isn't enough cattle available for the villagers to access it. Instead the villagers will eat less nutritious food alternatives, and have an increased disease possibility and remain malnourished. Upon employing this simple tactic, the farmer has 10% more feed for his cattle available and can now foster 44 cattle.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

This is merely an idea, though I feel that in first world countries it will allow for farmers to turn more profits (as 10% of their feed comes very cheaply, as it's a waste product!) and in the third world, people could generate 10% more food for their communities.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Due to this project's ease of application, all that this project needs is enough funding to scale it large enough. The access to coffee grounds needs to be of the tonnes; so an agreement with major coffee distributors, ie McDonalds, Starbucks, Gloria Jeans etc would be necessary. This could then be incorporated internationally, as these branches in the cities of third-world countries would have cafes feeding the affluent, while the waste product would help to rid poverty by generating 10% more feed for the poorer communities.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

By contacting the coffee selling agencies to come to an agreement regarding accessing their coffee ground wastes.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

This project is unique in its application to coffee grounds specifically, as other agricultural innovations (such as last year's winner regarding chooks) use other product ideas. This has the potential for global ramifications, and all it requires is a little funding and networking with larger businesses to scale the operation at an appropriate size.

Founding Story

Working at a cafe and taking the coffee grounds to the bin one night was a moment that I experienced and thought that there has to be some use for all of this wastage. I then thought about how much entire cities would dispose of to no use, and I realised that something needed to be done.


It's just me and my idea.