Wake up and smell the coffee as St. Enoch Centre opts for circular economy

13 September 2018

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Thursday 13th September 2018

Plants around Glasgow’s St. Enoch Centre have been given a new lease of life as every cup of coffee sold, results in a dose of caffeine for the centre’s plant pots.

Coffee grounds, which were previously seen as waste, are now being collected from a number of retailers in the centre by landscape specialists, GP Plantscapes who use the waste grounds to enrich the compost that is then used within the plants throughout the mall.

St. Enoch came up with the concept following a Circle Assessment and Workshop with Circular Glasgow which explored ways the shopping centre could repurpose waste to create circularity amongst its retailers.

During the workshop, it was established that there was significant mileage amongst catering outlets, and in the first instance a collaborative opportunity to combat coffee waste.

The concept has seen retailers brought together in a bid to embrace the circular economy and already Starbucks, Costa, Muffin Break, Kimble’s, Di Maggio’s, McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut, Aulds and Burger King have signed up to the initiative which will reduce the amount of waste from the centre.

500,000 tonnes of waste coffee grounds are produced in the UK each year, while as a source of organic matter, it can improve soil structure, increase water and nutrient-holding capacity, and boost biological activity.

The new initiative is expected to save the shopping centre £140 per tonne of recycled coffee, and it is hoped to inspire others to think of innovative ways to reuse waste with other retailers already developing creative ideas.

Circular Glasgow, hosted by Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Zero Waste Scotland and funded by the European Regional Development Fund, works with companies across the city helping them to open up new revenue streams, increase competitive advantage and realise financial savings using a range of practical tools.

A circular economy is one in which every product is created with the intent of ‘zero waste’, ensuring all raw materials can be recycled or upgraded to extract every possible usable element to maximum value.

Anne Ledgerwood, General Manager of St. Enoch Centre, commented: “We are pleased to have our coffee grounds initiative underway, not only is it making use of an item previously seen as waste, it will also benefit our plants. This is just the start of our circular economy journey.

“The coffee initiative is a great example of how small changes can make a real difference in helping to reduce waste and improve sustainability, something which we are continuously working towards in-centre. The workshop with Circular Glasgow was a great way to work with our retailers and get everybody thinking about how we can develop new uses for waste and there’s already lots of constructive discussions taking place for the next stages.”

Alison McRae, Senior Director at Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, said: “St. Enoch Centre’s new circular coffee initiative is an excellent example of how the city’s business community can develop new uses for waste within current business models.

“We’re delighted to see the St. Enoch Centre collaboration going live, and we look forward to working with the team to develop many more innovative solutions around the circular economy.”

Visit the St. Enoch Centre website here: https://www.st-enoch.com/