A Hyundai Steel official speaks during a conference on its social contribution project, Coffee Waste Resource Recovery Project on July 31. (Hyundai Steel)
A Hyundai Steel social contribution project is finding ways to repurpose coffee waste and create jobs along the way.
When someone brews a cup of coffee, only 0.2 percent of the coffee grounds ends up in the final product. The other 99.8 percent is discarded as waste.
According to Hyundai Steel, about 150,000 tons of coffee waste are either buried or incinerated in South Korea.
To find new uses for used coffee grounds, the steelmaker teamed with the Korea Productivity Center and Korea Green Foundation to begin the Coffee Waste Resource Recovery Project in 2019.
In the first year, the company inked memorandums of understanding with 10 institutions, including the Ministry of Environment and city of Incheon, to establish a system to collect coffee waste in the region.
A year into the project, Hyundai Steel said it anticipates being able to upcycle 360 tons of coffee waste a year, saving up to 210 million won ($177,000) in disposal costs and creating jobs in the region.
On July 31, Hyundai Steel held a conference to promote the Coffee Waste Resource Recovery Project.
“We look forward to strengthening the coffee waste recycling system, with more local governments participating in the third year of the project,” a Hyundai Steel official said.
By Jo He-rim (firstname.lastname@example.org)