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Seoul launches trial recycling program for coffee grounds fertilizer

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SEOUL, South Korea — The Seoul Metropolitan Government has launched a recycling program to encourage the use of spent coffee grounds as fertilizer.

The new program is being trialed in a number of districts across the city including Jongno and Guro Districts, where 2,600 coffee shops will set aside used coffee grounds in transparent bags that will then be collected by street cleaners.

After being collected, the coffee waste will then be mixed with animal waste to make fertilizer, in replacement of sawdust.

The new move by the city government comes following reports that South Korean adults on average drink 377 cups of coffee every year, more than one every day.

Nearly 99 percent of the coffee grounds end up as waste in the coffee making process, with each coffeehouse generating between 3 and 5 kilograms of coffee waste every day.

With the overwhelming volume of coffee waste set to be used for farming, the Seoul government says it should be able to help tackle both financial and smell problems facing farms.