Reusing coffee grounds to produce vegetables and compost

© neillangan, #219099360, 2019, source:


General Sustainability Carbon Waste
Agriculture, forestry and fishing Manufacture of food, beverages and tobacco
Size of company:
Micro (less than 10)
Advancement in applying resource efficiency measures:

The 4Ps of success

  • SME collects and re-uses coffee grounds to produce mushrooms
  • 25 % of turnover in 2018, concludes three years of increasing turnover

PermaFungi, an urban agricultural and circular economy organisation in Brussels, collects and re-uses coffee grounds from restaurants to cultivate and sell mushrooms and endives, produce compost and biodegradable lights.

This is a cooperative initiative aiming to make our cities more resilient from a social, economic and environmental point of view. Realising the high unemployment rate among young people and the abundance of urban waste, the company decided to focus on creating new jobs and re-using coffee grounds to produce food following circular principles.

In 2018, PermaFungi revalorised 39 tonnes of coffee grounds collected either by bike or by inverse logistic, thus reducing its CO2 emissions, and turned it into 10 tonnes of mushrooms, 7.5 tonnes of endives, 85 biodegradable lights and 75 tonnes of compost. Since 2014, they also went from four employees to 12 in 2018, all were unemployed before PermaFungi. Their turnover grew to 25 % in 2018. They also aim to become 100 % CO2 neutral.

Key impact

As for the social and management part of its strategy, PermaFungi bets on participatory and democratic management which allows employees to engage and interact with the management strategy, and decision-making follows a collaborative pattern. PermaFungi also focuses on skills and training to help young employees in their careers. On another social level, the company tries to raise awareness about urban agriculture and the circular economy by organising training and guided tours of its facilities. 

PermaFungi's motto is 4Ps: People, Planet, Participatory governance and Prosperity.

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