Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 36, pp 35776–35790 | Cite as

Converting environmental risks to benefits by using spent coffee grounds (SCG) as a valuable resource

  • Marinos StylianouEmail author
  • Agapios Agapiou
  • Michalis Omirou
  • Ioannis Vyrides
  • Ioannides Ioannis M. 
  • Grivas Maratheftis
  • Dionysia Fasoula
Sustainable Waste Management


Coffee is perhaps one of the most vital ingredients in humans’ daily life in modern world. However, this causes the production of million tons of relevant wastes, i.e., plastic cups, aluminum capsules, coffee chaff (silver skin), and spent coffee grounds (SCG), all thrown untreated into landfills. It is estimated that 1 kg of instant coffee generates around 2 kg of wet SCG; a relatively unique organic waste stream, with little to no contamination, separated directly in the source by the coffee shops. The produced waste has been under researchers’ microscope as a useful feedstock for a number of promising applications. SCG is considered a valuable, nutrients rich source of bioactive compounds (e.g., phenolics, flavonoids, carotenoids, lipids, chlorogenic and protocatechuic acid, melanoidins, diterpenes, xanthines, vitamin precursors, etc.) and a useful resource material in other processes (e.g., soil improver and compost, heavy metals absorbent, biochar, biodiesel, pellets, cosmetics, food, and deodorization products). This paper aims to provide a holistic approach for the SCG waste management, highlighting a series of processes and applications in environmental solutions, food industry, and agricultural sector. Thus, the latest developments and approaches of SCG waste management are reviewed and discussed.


Bioactive compounds Circular economy Coffee Food waste Landfills Recycling SCG valorization Solid waste 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NIREAS-International Research Center, Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of CyprusNicosiaCyprus
  2. 2.Department of ChemistryUniversity of CyprusNicosiaCyprus
  3. 3.Agricultural Research InstituteNicosiaCyprus
  4. 4.Department of Environmental Science and TechnologyCyprus University of TechnologyLemesosCyprus

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