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Coffee shop owner in Gaza turns coffee grounds into natural fertiliser

May 18, 2023 at 5:01 pm

Coffee Festival begins in Sanaa, Yemen on March 01, 2023 [Mohammed Hamoud – Anadolu Agency]

As part of an environmentally friendly initiative, a coffee shop owner in the Palestinian Gaza Strip began recycling coffee grounds into organic fertiliser, Anadolu News Agency reports.

Coffee grounds provide longer sustainability to plants and soil compared to chemical fertilisers.

The coffee shop, with its two branches in the Rimal neighbourhood in the centre of Gaza City, produces over 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of fertiliser daily.

According to data from the National Economy Ministry, the Gaza Strip consumes around 6-7 tons of coffee per day, at a rate of 2,500 tons annually.

Recycling idea

Sameh Habib, the owner of the cafe, noticed that most of the cafes in his residential area in a city in Europe began recycling organic wastes and using them as agricultural fertilisers, especially with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Abdullah Al-Safadi, 32, the coffee shop’s Executive Director, said: “The conversion of coffee grounds into compost has spread and become a public feature abroad, so we took the initiative to implement it in Gaza to preserve the environment.”

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“The cafe staff began collecting information about the conversion process, consulting agricultural engineers, and conducting a chemical study of the characteristics of coffee in government labs affiliated with the Agriculture Ministry in Gaza in November 2022,” Al-Safadi told Anadolu.

He explained that “the results of the analysis showed that the acidity of coffee grounds was suitable for acidophilic plants.”

“We add certain amounts of industrial fertiliser or lime to supplement the organic fertiliser,” he added.

The Manager also said they conducted preliminary experiments with organic fertilisers on plants grown in plastic containers in the cafe.

“The experiments we conducted proved the efficacy of the substance in maintaining the vitality and recovery of the seedlings,” Al-Safadi added.

Multiple benefits

In addition to its use as fertiliser, scientific studies have shown that coffee grounds are one of the best natural materials that help freshen the skin.

They are also sometimes used as a repellent to keep fungi and bacteria away from tomato plants, according to Al-Safadi.

According to international media reports, European farms have resorted to using coffee grounds as a natural fertiliser, after the price of chemical fertilisers increased dramatically due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, which stopped the export of fertilisers from both countries.

Al-Safadi said the fertiliser produced from the grounds “provides the soil with the most important nutrients of nitrogen and magnesium”.

He affirmed that “the compost helps germinate earthworms, which help in turning the soil and increasing its aeration”.

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Al-Safadi indicated that converting coffee grounds into fertiliser would keep the sewage networks free of large quantities of plankton that cause clogging, especially since the Gaza Strip produces large quantities of grounds daily, most of which goes into sewage networks.

Eco-friendly gesture

Al-Safadi said the cafe is trying to popularise the initiative by distributing organic fertiliser in the local community.

He explained that a number of small cafes in Gaza began to contact them to benefit from their experience.

Al-Safadi added that applying the experiment on a large scale would enhance access to a friendly and healthy environment.