Inicio Reciclaje Café para rumiantes: el programa LIFE alimenta a las vacas y ovejas de Europa con espresso.

Café para rumiantes: el programa LIFE alimenta a las vacas y ovejas de Europa con espresso.

Café para rumiantes: el programa LIFE alimenta a las vacas y ovejas de Europa con espresso.

Millions of Europeans start their day with a morning cup of coffee. In 2023, Europe consumed 53.7 million bags of coffee, weighing 60 kg each. For every kilogram of coffee from a coffee machine, around 2 kg of spent coffee grounds (SCG) are generated, and a coffee capsule produces around 18 g of SCG. Our coffee habits have a significant carbon footprint; globally, nearly hundreds of thousands of plastic coffee capsules used in coffee machines end up in landfills and will take many years to decompose. This SCG product is often used in fertilizers and energy generation, but around 46% of it still ends up in landfills or is incinerated.

A LIFE project, ECOFEED LIFE, is converting wet SCG into feed for livestock, which is usually made from imported soy and has a huge environmental impact. By 2050, the number of livestock in Europe is expected to increase by 70%, and all these animals will need to be fed. Wet SCG also has an additional surprising impact on the cows that consume it; their new caffeine-rich diet reduces their methane emissions by 20%.

Focusing on by-products from the coffee and hospitality industries, LIFE ECOFFEED will run until 2024 and aims to collect and process 21 tons of SCG and 1.5 tons of coffee capsules for recycling. To date, 80 tons of experimental feed for sheep and dairy cows have been produced and used in controlled diet tests. For example, at the largest dairy farm in the Basque Country, Spain, about 150 cows and 48 sheep have been testing this new raw material. For the sheep, 20% of SCG has been included in the formulation of their feed, and the cow feed contains up to 10%.

The results have been positive, with no impact on the performance of dairy sheep milk or its chemical quality. In fact, it has changed the fatty acid profile of the milk to a healthier one.

Not all SCG is suitable for animals, but the project has found an alternative use for them by producing over 1 ton of pellets used as fuel to increase the drying efficiency of SCG intended for feed. Additionally, 375 kg of plastic and aluminum are recycled instead of being sent to landfills or incinerated.

All tests and trials for the project have been completed. The results and how this solution could be replicated in other regions will be demonstrated at a workshop at the VIII World Conference: Family Farming – Sustainability of our Planet, organized by the World Rural Forum on March 31, 2024.

LIFE ECOFFEED aligns with the Circular Economy Action Plan.


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