Reground founder and co-director bin Matthew Kovacs(Left) – Ninna Larsen, Founder Reground and (Right) Kaitlin Reid, Co-director Reground – image by  Matthew Kovacs

 

FOODIE PROFILE WITH NINNA LARSEN OF REGROUND

In our latest Foodie Profile we chat with Danish born, Melbourne based Ninna Larsen. Ninna is the founder of Reground, one of Melbourne’s newest and inspiring sustainability businesses. Melbourne’s cafe’s are an integral part of the city’s culture, and Ninna and the team at Reground are helping make those businesses more sustainable.

Ninna shares how she started Reground, what they do and how we can be more sustainable in the home and at work. She also shares some of her favourite sustainably friendly cafe’s in Melbourne.

JC x

 

1. Ninna, tell us about what you do at Reground?

At Reground, we’re on a mission to change the way organic waste is disposed in Australia. We’re dedicated to diverting coffee waste away from landfill to end users that are able to repurpose the ground coffee through composting, worm growing and mushroom farming. Through this, we aim to create conversation and spread awareness to change the way people think about waste throughout our community for the better.

 

Reground 1 Matthew KovacsReground’s recycling bins – image by  Matthew Kovacs

 

2. How did the business idea come about?

In late 2014, when I was working as a barista, I found myself questioning the ways we dispose of ground coffee in Australia. When I looked into what happens in landfill and how organic waste turns into toxic methane gas, it became clear that the system had to change. I bought a bin and started trialling what is now the Reground service.

 

3. Apart from diverting coffee waste from landfill, what else should hospitality businesses be doing to be more sustainable with their practices?

Some other ways to be more sustainable include; connecting with local suppliers, researching creative ways to reduce waste, like figure out how to encourage customers to bring reusable cups if they have a takeaway coffee or get food and coffee delivered to the cafe in crates or tins rather than cardboard boxes, investing in energy efficient equipment. It’s also great to create an environmentally-conscious ethos for the business, by speaking about sustainability with your staff and customers.

 

Reground original - 19 Matthew KovacsNinna Larsen, Founder of Reground – image by  Matthew Kovacs

 

4. You’re Danish, so it’s no coincidence that your ideals are so sustainably focused. Could you tell us a bit about the Danish culture and in your opinion why the Danes are so progressive towards social responsibility and the environment?

That’s all to do with our political orientation (although that’s being currently being challenged, like it is everywhere in the world.) A social democratic country listens to it’s people and cares for everyone. Being resourceful has been on the agenda for many years in Denmark. We simply don’t have the space or the capacity to throw resources away. We have had to reuse and reduce out of need. But the public debate has also followed – back in the 1970’s the people of Denmark fought for solar and wind power – and now the country is almost there. Change takes a long time. But change starts with people asking for it and demanding it.

 

Reground original - 58 Matthew KovacsRecycled coffee grounds – image by  Matthew Kovacs

 

5. What are some actions we can take to be more sustainable in the home or at work? And what is the best way for us to dispose of our coffee?

To be more sustainable in the home or workplace, I like the three ‘R’s: reuse, recycle, regrow. If possible, it’s also great to invest in energy efficient devices, and buy locally sourced produce. But it’s best to research innovative ways to reduce your environmental footprint that work for you, because everyone is different.

One of the best and most common ways to dispose of coffee in the home is to reuse it in your compost. Not only does this cut your environmental impact to zero, your soil will also thank you! If you want to get more creative, ground coffee can also be used as a skin exfoliant, an odour neutralizer, a slug deterrent, the list goes on.

 

Reground original - 15 Matthew KovacsReground’s seal of sustainability – image by  Matthew Kovacs

 

6. Where are your favourite ‘sustainably friendly’ places to eat and drink coffee in Melbourne?

We love all the cafes that have chosen to make a positive change in the way they dispose of their ground coffee, and they can be identified by our Reground certification! Some of these amazing cafes include; Allpress, Kinfolk, Brother Baba Budan and Padre, just to name a few!

 

7. For readers wanting to learn more about the environment and sustainability, which credible sources would you recommend?

Sustainability Victoria is a Victorian government initiative, which offers education for individuals, businesses and community organisations around climate change and ways we can make a difference. Sustainable Business Australia is also an excellent resource for businesses to change their practices to create a more sustainable world. Green Lifestyle Magazine is another digital and printed publication that talks about how we can be more sustainable in our everyday lives.

 

Reground wheely bin Matthew KovacsImage by  Matthew Kovacs

 

8. You are currently running a crowdfunding campaign. Could you tell us about it?

To date, Reground has repurposed 26 tonnes of ground coffee into gardens around Melbourne. Because we’re only able to hire a van for short periods of time each week, our impact has been limited. At the moment, we can move around 1,200 kilos of ground coffee per week, but we know we can do more. So our crowdfunding campaign on Pozible is aimed at raising funds to buy our own set of wheels. With our own van, we’ll be able to move nine times more ground coffee away from landfill, to those who can use it for the better.

Update: (04/04/17 – Reground met their Pozible target!!)

 

WEBSITE: www.reground.com.au

FACEBOOK: facebook.com/regroundcompany

INSTAGRAM: instagram _reground