From ‘unhappy’ barista to coffee waste entrepreneur


Melbourne-based recycling company, Reground, has launched a sustainability initiative with Italian coffee manufacturer Lavazza during the Australian Open (AO) 2020. From Lavazza’s Garden Square and Grand Slam Café, Reground is looking at the collection of used coffee grounds from more than 200,000 coffees anticipated to be sold across the two-week event.

Ninna K. Larsen and Kaitlin Reid from Reground

Startup

By Darcy Song

Coffee waste recycling startup, Reground, launched their sustainability initiative with no other than well-known coffee manufacturer Lavazza, at The Australian Open 2020.

From Lavazza’s cafes at the tournament, Reground was looking at the collection of used coffee grounds from more than 200,000 coffees sold across the two-week event.

Especially troubled by the volume of wasted coffee grounds each day, Ninna Larsen took a career change from working as a barista in Melbourne’s Brunswick to founding Reground — a recycling business that aims to divert coffee grinds locally.

“I felt unhappy with my own contribution to the waste problem and thought to myself ‘what can I do to help address the issue and, more importantly, solve it?” she said.

In Australia — a country with a world-famous coffee culture — there is no better way to start a day than with a lovely morning cuppa.

  • However, it is also no secret that the country’s beloved drink comes with hidden costs that burden the environment with waste, including
    An estimated 1 billion disposable cups used by Australians each year
  • Around 3 million single-serve pods consumed across the country every single day
  • An average of about 80kg of used coffee grounds produced by Australian cafes each week

Read more: 25-year-old, Gabby Samkova, raises $37,455 on Kickstarter to launch sustainable towel brand

Having landed on the partnership with Lavazza during AO 2020, Reground utilised the initiative to divert used coffee grounds from waste and transformed it into the resource for local communities.

Residential and local community gardens across Melbourne benefited from receiving used coffee grounds, which helped build soil and created great compost.

With the model of hyperlocal diversion and the production of food grown from coffee waste, Ninna suggested that individual coffee drinkers could work together to build a new future.

“The strongest impact on the local community will be the amount of fresh food we can produce with this resource, which would otherwise be headed straight for landfill.

“It’s something so simple yet quite remarkable when you think about it.”

The company also sought the opportunity of AO 2020 to raise awareness about coffee sustainability amongst a global audience.

“Teaching everyday coffee-drinkers the value of using coffee grounds as a resource is the foundation on which Reground was built,” Ninna said.

“The partnership with Lavazza provided a unique chance for us to not only repurpose grinds — but make aware the thousands of people attending the Australian Open of the importance of sustainable coffee waste removal.”

With understandings of large-scale events gained from participating in AO 2020, Reground is looking to open up more recycling and waste-free options for both large and small clients alike.

Lavazza is a sponsor of the Australian Open and the only food and drink sponsor of all four Grand Slams.

The company also is also looking to further another one of its social responsibility project, ¡Tierra!, which improves the social and environmental conditions and production techniques of some coffee producing communities.

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