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On Coffee and Compost

  • Jenni Hart
    JPH Coffee

Posted: 1:35PM September 5th, 2013 | Comments

Hi! My name is Stacie, and I’m the new Sustainable Business Initiatives Intern here at Sustain Dane. This past month, I’ve been settling in to my new role here and have moved into my new apartment near the arboretum.   All of these new changes mean new opportunities to make sustainable connections in the Madison community. Over the next few months, I’ll be sharing my experiences on Sustain Dane’s Live Forward Blog.


One of the great benefits of being part of Sustain Dane is taking part in the many events they host or participate in.  One of the first events I got to attend was the Backlot Bash at the Madison Children’s Museum to unveil the new Urb Garden Exhibit – which you should check out if you haven’t already. Sustain Dane’s Amy, Danielle and I were there to highlight the cycle of composting.  We had a fun bean bag toss game where kids of all ages got to toss felt veggies & banana peels into a composting bin hole.  I mentioned to Amy that I was interested in composting at my new apartment, but that I wasn’t sure what to do with it.  Being that Sustain Dane is known for making connections happen - she introduced me to Rooted Curbside Composta local service thatoffers compost pick up and container drop off, even to apartment dwellers! 


I started chatting up this cool service to my group of friends, one of whom happens to work at my favorite local coffee shop - Johnson Public House (also known as JPH).  I asked her what they do with the spent coffee grounds and if they composted.  She said that, while people occasionally ask for them, they don’t have anything formal set up at this time.  I spoke with other local baristas who are also pitching spent grounds into the trash.  This started the light bulbs flashing (a common sustainable intern side effect) and I made it my mission to find a sustainable solution. 


Spent coffee grounds can be used in all sorts of beneficial ways.  If you have pesky ants around your house, the grounds can be laid around the foundation and entrances as pest control. (Source: Mother Nature News)  For garden compost, spent grounds are rich in organic matter and can enhance plants that prefer a more acidic soil.  Spent grounds are also a great source of antioxidants, which can be used in skin or hair conditioners.


My next step is to gather information on how to connect local coffee shops like JPH with resources that can use their spent coffee grounds.  To be continued…after I grab a quick pour over from JPH. If you have suggestions, send them my way – .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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