According to data released by the National Assembly, the amount of discarded coffee grounds significantly increased by about 37 percent from 93,397 tons in 2012 to 149,038 tons in 2019. Some 99.8 percent of coffee grounds are produced when brewing a cup of coffee.
On December 22, the Ministry of Environment will sign an agreement with administrative bodies, civic groups, and a private company including the western port city of Incheon, North Gyeongsang Province and Hyundai Steel to cooperate in the coffee-recycling pilot project. Through a statement, the ministry said that a total of 45 billion won ($37.8 million) will be saved annually if the pilot project is officially adopted.
"Coffee grounds can reduce the odor of livestock manure by more than 90 percent within a week," the environment ministry official Oh Jong-hoon was quoted as saying. The microbiome group fermentation technique uses microscopic organisms to break down and ferment organic materials. According to Seoul, coffee grounds are being reused to produce bioplastic furniture. 4EN, a domestic social enterprise, has created various types of bioplastic furniture including desks and chairs using leftover coffee grounds.
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