Coffee Farmer with Coffee Waste

The Dark Side Of Coffee - How Coffee Waste Degrades the Environment

Abstract 

This blog will discuss the environmental pollution that results from coffee cherry waste. It will also describe how pollution occurs and the process by which coffee cherries rot and leech mycotoxins into the soil, waterways, and emit carbon. 


Coffee Cherry Pulp

Processing

After coffee cherries are harvested from the plant, they are collected and sorted at the farm’s processing facility. The cherries are sorted by quality, those that are under ripe and overripe get placed in separate locations. Then the seed is extracted, usually in a depulping machine, and the cherry waste is diverted to a compost pile or if at a larger farm a dump. It is at this point that the coffee cherry quickly degrades and begins emitting carbon dioxide equivalent and mycotoxins.


Carbon Emissions

Over 20 million tons of coffee cherry waste is generated each year. The waste generates more than 15 million tons of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent). We are all well aware of the impact carbon dioxide has on the atmosphere and its direct contribution to climate change.  


Coffee Pollution

Mycotoxins

In addition, the coffee cherries leach poisonous mycotoxins into waterways and the soil. Mycotoxins are a type of fungus that grows on coffee cherries while they decompose. They pose a serious threat to humans and livestock when consumed and can lead to immune deficiencies and even cancer. Once in the soil they decrease soil productivity and also contaminate crops. When leached into water the risk of mycotoxins poisoning humans and wildlife becomes even greater.

These consequences are a direct result of coffee processing that fails to utilize the coffee cherry.  By upcycling coffee cherries Kogo is able to not only aid in reducing climate change, but also reduce mycotoxin pollution in the earth and water. This is one of the reasons we truly believe in utilizing the coffee cherry as a super fruit and see our product as providing immense value for not only people, but also the world. 

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