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Sustainability at 3fe: Week 10


07 March 2019

In week 4, we posted the stats for the amount of waste we produced last year, with the aim of diverting more waste from landfill and disposing of less waste overall. In 2018, around 75% of our waste went to landfill, and over the three main locations, we produced over 30 tonnes of waste in total.

This year, we want to decrease the percentage of general waste from 75% to 25%, and also reduce the overall amount of waste by 25%. Here’s how we’ve been getting on!

The main efforts have been at the cafes, and in particular Grand Canal Street, which produces the most waste. Our Executive Barista Robyn has the scoop:

“Since the last post about waste back in week four, we’ve implemented a few new measures across our cafes to reduce the volume of waste going into our general waste bins. Our main focus in this has been to make sure everything is being disposed of in the correct manner, by recycling everything we can, and by introducing organic waste bins.

We started by auditing what was going into our general waste every day for a week, recording what was in there and seeing whether any of it could go into the recycling or brown bins. We realised that there was quite a bit of recyclable and compostable material being thrown away carelessly. It was a really useful tool for our staff, because everyone became more cognisant of how they were disposing of things, and it also gave us a few ideas for small changes that could impact how we distribute waste.

The first change we made was to dedicate two of our general bins to organic waste. One of these was previously used for organic matter that we would then compost out the back, but became a general bin when our compost bins were full, and the other one was a small bin built into the sink area, intended for scraping food into. That cut us down to just one general behind the counter and one general for customers.

We subsequently decided to remove the bin in the front for customers, as we realised that most of what ended up in it was either recyclable takeaway packaging, or rubbish that people had brought in with them. One thing we’re always aware of is how many people choose to use takeaway cups when they’re sitting in, so this way at least we have the opportunity to recycle them rather than having them end up in the general waste.

We were surprised by just how much we were able to reduce our general waste through becoming more thoughtful about the process, and after a few days it became second nature.”

Though it’s too early to gather decent data, the difference between January and February’s waste shows really positive signs.

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By introducing more brown bins and more frequent collections, and increasing knowledge around composting and recycling, both shops saw a big reduction in general waste, which we hope will continue throughout the year.

In the roastery, we aren’t producing enough organic waste to warrant brown bin collections, so we’ve taken matters into our own hands and have gotten another composter. This way we have an outlet for the food waste and coffee grinds that are being produced here.

We’re continuing to put our jute sacks and GrainPro bags to use through Recreate Ireland, and the chaff to community gardens for composting, however we’re on the lookout for someone that could make use of a higher quantity of chaff, so if that person is you, give us a shout!

The next steps across the board are to reduce the overall amount of waste. Stay tuned for our progress!