Kathryn Lewis

CIT student’s social enterprise turning coffee into gardening products | The Canberra Times

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Cafegoers have become used to bringing a reusable cup when they grab a coffee to reduce their environmental impact, and a new project plans to make Canberra’s coffee habit a bit more sustainable. What began as a class project for five Canberra Institute of Technology community development students has spiralled into a budding community enterprise to create gardening products from cofffee grounds. Currently based on CIT’s Bruce campus the women behind Grind to Ground have collected sawdust from the school’s carpentry students, that would otherwise be sent to landfill, and coffee grounds from cafes across the city, to create a soil topper which will be sold to Canberra’s many gardeners. “It spun from, let’s get the community working on a project, to something that’s going to be sustainable and long-term, because you can’t ask organisations to get on board on a five-month project,” Grind to Ground’s Lisa Pozzato said. “First we were going to the coffee shops, now we have coffee shops coming to us.” The group have big ambitions to expand the project to build their network of participating cafes, branch out to locations off CIT’s campus and ultimately give employment opportunities to people with disabilities. Lily Waymouth, one of the students at the helm, said they had decided to offer volunteer roles to Canberrans with disabilities in the hope to one day hand the business over. A dozen volunteers are currently working throughout the week to collect coffee grounds from across the city, make and bag the soil topper. Ms Pozzato expected as the project grew they would need to more than double their intake of volunteers with the hope of paid positions in the future. READ MORE: She said they would work with community organisations to provide opportunities to people with intellectual disabilities struggling to find meaningful work in what has become an even more difficult situation due to COVID-19. The group will officially launch Grind to Ground at the CIT Plant Show on November 14. “We’re going to continue to drink coffee and have sawdust … and produce things that create waste, and we can use that to employ people,” Ms Pozzato said.


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