UP CLOSE: Meet the Penarth startup bringing coffee grounds recycling to Wales

By Alex Jones

20th Jan 2021 | Local News

Penarth Nub News aims to support our community, promoting shops, businesses, charities, clubs and sports groups.

We will be profiling some of these businesses and organisations in a feature called 'Up Close in Penarth'.

Today, we speak with Rosie Oretti, one half of the lockdown start-up Grounds For Good. With her friend Amy, Rosie is leading the drive to recycle coffee grounds in Wales.

What do sandals, body scrub, fire logs, coffee cups, alcohol and concrete all have in common?

Alongside an endless list of other products, they all can be produced using coffee grounds destined for landfill.

Since October 2020, Penarth beauty entrepreneurs Rosie Oretti and Amy Adams have been taking coffee grounds from local independent businesses and turning them into personal care and lifestyle products.

In doing so, their business Grounds for Good has become the first in Wales to join a recycling revolution of what must be among the world's most popular (and damaging) single-use products.

But, for these ambitious businesswomen, their coffee grounds recycling journey is only just beginning.

They want to end commercial coffee grounds wastage in Penarth and have a plan to make that happen.

"I'd seen a couple of companies that were looking at recycling coffee grounds and talked to Amy and we thought wouldn't it be great to do something like that in Wales?" Rosie tells Nub News.

"So we're the first company that I know of in Wales that are using used coffee grounds to make products that we can use again.

"The sad thing is that coffee beans are used once and then chucked out. Then they're put into landfill and under these conditions they emit methane gas," she continues.

"We all know about recyclable coffee pots and coffee cups, but there's very little awareness about how coffee grounds in bulk are damaging the environment.

"It's a massive industry that's growing rapidly. I think about half a million tonnes of coffee grounds go to landfill a year, and we need a solution to this.

"We've got Brod and Foxy's on board. We collect their coffee grounds from them. They're just grateful because they have to put it into their commercial waste and because it's so wet and heavy this is a big expense."

Coffee grounds taken from Brod and Foxy's are then transformed via various techniques into body polishes, coffee cups and candles.

Sian Fox, who owns Foxy's Cafe and Deli, says she is thrilled to be taking part.

"I was throwing away about 10kg of grounds a day at one point, and apart from the occasional person taking it for their compost, it was just getting thrown away," she says.

"I want to be as sustainable as possible and this is helping me do that."

Like all entrepreneurs behind successful startups, Amy and Rosie have no intention of resting on their laurels.

They have a plan for growth.

"The one thing I'm trying to do is to get all the businesses that sell coffee together and upscale this," says Rosie.

"There is a company I've been in communication with called Bio-bean that collects coffee in bulk from all over the UK and makes it into a biofuel. Not only do the logs they produce recycle coffee, but they're also more effective and more efficient - it's such an amazing idea.

"They would quite willingly accept coffee grounds from independents in Wales if we had a logistical mechanism in place.

"I was thinking that if all these local businesses have to pay business rates to the council to divert their waste to landfill, what if we could make a statement in Penarth?

"Every coffee-selling company could chip in and we could have a shipment of coffee grounds going as often as we want from Penarth to Bio-bean for about £800, maybe less.

"We'd have a dumping site where a logistics company would pick it up from and take it to Bio-bean. It's just a matter of getting local businesses on board."

For now, Rosie and Amy are just running their business - the profits of which go to the homeless charity The Wallich.

"We are a social enterprise. Our profits go to the Wallich which is a charity across Wales that helps homeless individuals," continues Rosie.

"I'm a trustee on the board of the Wallich and have worked a lot with homeless individuals so using our business to help others is definitely a huge drive.

"We have a mission statement, the three pillars of Grounds for Good:

- GOOD FOR US (because we can turn coffee grounds into products that make us feel good)


- and GOOD FOR THE COMMUNITY (because it helps not only the businesses that get involved but the charity too)."


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