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Central Students Turn Coffee Grounds into Compost

Posted: Friday, November 6th, 2009 at 6:27 am

A student group at Central College has been collecting coffee grounds to help create compost at Central’s organic garden. The project contributes to Central’s recent initiative towards sustainability by turning a waste product into useful material. The composting is aided by some custom-built tumblers made from recycled materials and has been organized by Central’s Global Sustainability class. Course instructor Jim Zaffiro explains that coffee grounds work well for a number of reasons.

“In terms of nutrients and lack of smell potential, it’s a good thing to put into a compost pile,” says Zaffiro. “It degrades pretty quickly, it enriches the soil, [and] it’s got basic minerals in it that we would have to pay money for out of a bag of fertilizer. This way it’s free and natural, and it reduces solid waste.”

The class gathered coffee grounds from Central’s Café@Geisler for several weeks earlier this fall. The grounds are mixed with sawdust and fruit inside the tumblers, which speeds up the composting process by exposing more of the material inside to the air. Zaffiro adds that the project is a test run as part of a student-lead initiative to go 100% compostable one day.