Monday, August 17

How it Works

- Grinds By Gears -
The collection process starts with the employees of the contributing coffee shops, who dump all coffee and tea grounds (with filters, too) into the buckets we have distributed to them. Each day, a volunteer 'foot soldier', who has signed up to collect from one or more shops on one or more days of the week, waltzes in and takes the bucket, walking it to one of our regional collection sites. This is usually a 3 to 8 minute walk from the coffee seller. The empty buckets are returned immediately and the volunteer is on their way after less than a half hour.

With nearly a dozen buckets emptied daily into the regional collection site, grounds start to stack up quickly. Three times a week, a volunteer rider cruises over to the regional site and fills our five foot Bikes At Work trailer with the several hundred pounds of grounds and hitches it to the project-supplied hitch on their personal bicycle. The rider then gives the grounds a personal tour across town to our master pile, stopping at a few shops along the way to give the foot soldiers a break for the day.

At the master pile, which we are lucky to have located in central Moscow behind Otto's Produce (thanks, Mr. Otto!), grounds accumulate for several weeks. This pile gets mighty large, but does not yet begin to compost or stink. Once a month or so, the Ecology and Conservation Biology club arranges to have the pile scooped up and distributed a few miles to our compost sites in the back of some volunteers truck or SUV. Even with a large truck, this takes a few loads becasue the pile in nearly a ton.

At their new homes in the Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institutes' Community Garden or the UI Soil Stewards Farm compost bins, the grounds finally meet their maker and begin to decompose into a rich and nitrogen filled soil supplement. Depending upon the intensity of the composting methods, this process takes anywhere from a month to nearly a year.

- Make it Happen -
If you are interested in being a part of this home-grown project, check out the volunteer page and contact us at

If you have suggestions about a better way to accomplish the goals we are working towards, or would like suggestions towards getting your own community project rolling, feel free to give us a shout. We would love to hear from you.

1 comment:

  1. Cool beans! Will this program continue through the Winter? How can individual households contribute?