Green Energy from Used Coffee Grounds
Can coffee drinking be made more sustainable? Last year, in Lithuania, we had a great idea how to increase the lifespan of a coffee bean and to get something magical out of it.
In this fast-paced world where consumer culture dominates our everyday lives, many of us should stop and consider more sustainable lifestyle. Human activity is the main cause of climate change, and we here at Paulig work very hard to ensure a sustainable and environmentally friendly business. After all, if we will not do anything, 50 years from now there might not be any coffee left – and that is just not the kind of world we want to live in.
So, what can we do if we want to increase the lifespan of a coffee bean? Well, last year we had a magical idea: we recycled used coffee grounds and used them to illuminate the main Christmas tree in the city of Kaunas, Lithuania.
A very bright idea: Powering lights with old coffee grounds
When we had the idea of recycling coffee grounds, we needed to figure out a way to spread it to others. Our main goal was not only to generate green energy for powering Christmas lights but also to include as many people as possible in this project.
If we wanted to attract people's attention, we needed to focus on the result. Therefore, we decided to get people hyped on using this unusual way of powering lights. We chose Kaunas because it is the second largest city in Lithuania and currently in a stage of rapid modern development.
In order to acquire enough coffee grounds, we wanted everyone to join – not just our clients. We invited cafés, hotels, restaurants, offices and gas stations to join us in this project.
The result: 15K of coffee grounds and 8000 kWh of clean energy
In the end, more than 170 businesses joined our project. Half of them actually reached out to us themselves because they wanted to be a part of the project. We gathered coffee grounds from these companies all through November. And when December came, all the residents of Kaunas city were invited to join: a recycling container was put in the City Hall square, specifically for disposing of used coffee grounds, so everyone who wanted to help keep the Christmas tree illuminated was able to join.
In two months, we gathered more than 15 tons of coffee grounds that were used to produce around 8000 kWh of clean energy. Only 5 or 6 tons of coffee grounds were necessary to keep the Christmas tree lights going, so with all the hard work that was put in the project, we tripled the amount needed!
The writer, Dovile Baltrukeniene, is Marketing and products coordinator in Paulig Lithuania.