Innovation That Matters

Coffee wastewater generates precious energy for farmers

Nonprofit & Social Cause

UTZ certified’s Coffee Wastewater project turns toxic wastewater into energy, tackling climate change and protecting water resources in the process.

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We’ve seen waste coffee put to use generating energy on a small scale in the past, but now UTZ certified’s Coffee Wastewater project is turning toxic wastewater — produced by coffee farming — into energy on a far larger scale, tackling climate change and protecting water resources in the process.

Ordinarily, the wastewater created by coffee farming is toxic, and if left untreated, it can contaminate water resources nearby with harmful effects on flora and fauna. The Coffee Wastewater Project by UTZ tested wastewater from a range of coffee farms of varying sizes and created treatments and mechanisms to reduce the environmental impact. While the wastewater is usually left untreated and disposed of in nearby rivers, the company now uses the wastewater to generate energy. The resulting resource – Biogas — can be used to power local mills and villages, and improve indoor environments for families by replacing firewood with domestic gas stoves for cooking. UTZ certified labels all products produced with the system in place, to assure the consumer that the product they are buying is produced with a sustainable future in mind.

The systems were installed in eight coffee farms in Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala. The positive environmental and economic impact of the project affected 5,000 people in the region and has inspired UTZ Certified to replicate the initiative in other countries. Is this an idea ripe for rapid international expansion?



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