SEOUL, April 5 (Korea Bizwire) – The Ministry of Environment (MoE) in collaboration with Starbucks Korea and the Korea Zero Waste Movement Network held an event at Seoul Forest yesterday to celebrate Arbor Day, which is today.
The event encouraging the recycling of resources including used coffee grounds took place as yesterday marked the first anniversary of a campaign initiated by the government and private environment and business organizations to raise awareness of environmental issues and the importance of recycling.
Around 300 volunteer workers and members of the Seoul Forest Conservancy also participated in the event in celebration of Arbor Day, planting trees while using fertilizer made of used coffee grounds at the third biggest park in Seoul.
During yesterday’s event, 500 flowerpots made with used coffee grounds were given to people who signed up to join the environmental protection action on the spot, while 500 cups of coffee were offered to those who used reusable coffee cups instead of disposal ones.
The collective eco-friendly effort by a group of organizations also promoted environmental awareness online by offering complimentary tumblers to those who joined their campaign on Facebook and other social networking services.
In the coffeehouse industry, Starbucks is spearheading the movement to encourage recycling.
Of the 4,417 tons of used coffee grounds Starbucks produced in South Korea last year, a respectable 3,411 tons were recycled, accounting for 70 percent.
Starbucks says it will aim to recycle 90 percent of its used coffee grounds this year.
Experts encourage the use of coffee waste as used coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, all of which are main nutrient components found in high-quality fertilizer.
With no harmful impurities such as heavy metals, and the unique smell of coffee that is an added bonus, used coffee grounds are proving increasingly popular among South Korean farms.
Last year, Starbucks’s recycling efforts saw 2200 tons of used coffee grounds given to farmers and customers for free to be reused as fertilizer. The American coffeehouse giant also used its used coffee grounds to make flowerpots.
Hyunsu Yim (firstname.lastname@example.org)