BAF was a partner in Ground Breaking Mushrooms (GBM) which aimed to remove coffee grounds from the waste system. New Plymouth has a thriving café scene and a consequence of this is a burgeoning level of used coffee grounds. Much of this ends up in landfill.
To achieve this aim GBM tested the success of blending the grounds with a second organic substance and confirmed that this creates a perfect substrate on which to grow oyster mushrooms. Once the mushroom growing cycle is complete the substrate has then been turned into a high yield organic compost (raw coffee grounds are not useful as a compost).
This means that not only does this approach remove coffee grounds from the waste system, it creates an organic saleable mushroom product and allows the coffee grounds to be re-used for a third time as compost.
We piloted the enterprise in a shipping container using repurposed dairy buckets as a growing platform and also completed a Curious Minds funded site with Francis Douglas Memorial College to enable their science and horticulture students to come on board as part of a research team testing what is the most effective blend of coffee grounds and secondary matter to grow mushrooms. A significant problem we faced was the impact of the high heat created by the mushrooms during their growing cycle.
We were delighted to receive support from New Plymouth District Council through their Waste Levy Fund. This enabled us to purchase an e-bike and trailer to collect used coffee grounds with zero carbon impact.
Following our pilot we wrote up our our approach to try and encourage other stakeholders to consider scaling the initiative.
We were thrilled to be recognised for this work by Sustainable Taranaki in the following article https://www.sustainabletaranaki.org.nz/communitystories/2020/11/9/ground-breaking-mushrooms-living-up-to-its-name
and to see BAF showcased for ‘their outstanding efforts in reducing their climate impact by implementing a Response Map’ in the article at the link below: