Whether warm or cold, on the go or sitting we all enjoy a nice cup of coffee, but there is one thing all coffees have in common: waste.
Every day in Greece more than 110 tons of coffee are consumed, most of it ending up in landfill.
That's why Vassilis Filipou, Head of the Energy community of Karditsa, decided to change its final destination and put it to good use.
"Coffee is something that most of us come in contact daily with. We are a country where coffee is part of our culture. We like to drink coffee, so why not turn a habit of ours into something more substantial, something that will heat up our homes and schools and bring down the cost of energy? And that's why we decided to use, used coffee grounds for heating," said Filipou.
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Located in the heart of Greece, Karditsa is a relatively small city, but one that is taking big steps to fight the soaring energy prices.
With the help of the European Union through Becoop, an organization that mobilises citizens around bioenergy initiatives, a pilot project is running to heat up a school by burning coffee waste. In this project, an organisation called Incommon who has been already collecting coffee grounds in Northern Greece, has been supporting this initiative in Karditsa by bringing awareness, but also adapting the pilot program to the city's characteristics.
How it works
It all starts at local cafes. Once a coffee is consumed, the grounds are collected, taken to a bin and from there to a hanger, where it's dried, compressed and turned into pellets.
The final destination is a kindergarten located nearby. It has already converted its heating system and is now getting energy from coffee.
But the best part is, that whole process is cheaper and…….greener
"We decided to use energy from 100 percent renewables and no fussil fuels whatsoever. So basically we use green energy to produce electricity, which later on we use to produce renewable heating which we channel into society,” said Filipou.
With an ever-increasing call for sustainable alternatives to carbon-heavy fuels and the increase in energy prices the idea is gaining momentum.
It's cheaper to produce, less harmful for the environment when burned and its recyclable. That's why this project is also attracting political support.
"When they came to me with the report of what they want to do, I said, 'Why not?' said Vassilis Tsiakos, mayor of Karditsa.
"I myself are part of the energy community of my town, so these kinds of ideas I really support. I also thought that a project like this could really help my citizens especially with this difficult winter that we have ahead. So anything that could help them fight the high energy costs, is a go from me."
While there's still a long way to go, this little town is leading the race to alternative energy sources.
A simple invention that could give the rest of the world a glimpse of what future energy sources might look like.