The project started in 2010 with the goal of addressing what to do with the wastewater produced in the coffee industry. Tailor-made coffee wastewater treatment systems and solid-waste treatment mechanisms were installed in eight coffee farms in Nicaragua, ten in Honduras and one in Guatemala. The positive impact of the project on over 5,000 people in the region has inspired UTZ Certified to replicate the initiative in other countries.
Latin America produces around 70% of the world's coffee and is the continent where 31% of the world's freshwater resources are located. Yet coffee production generates a great amount of wastewater that is regularly released untreated into rivers, affecting aquatic fauna and flora as well as downstream communities. Additionally, coffee wastewater comes along with tons of organic waste and high toxicity which affects the soil and generates considerable amounts of greenhouse-gas emissions, particularly methane, heavily contributing to climate change.
Training over the use of lamps fueled by biogas. Yalí de Jinotega, Nicaragua
The Energy from Coffee Wastewater project has been implemented in a range of differently sized farms. The achieved results of the project range from preventing local deforestation of native trees to better indoor environments for families who replaced firewood with domestic gas stoves for cooking. Additional outcomes included:
- Treatment of essentially all water used in coffee processing
- Over 50% less water used during coffee processing
- Generation of significant amount of biogas used to power households and coffee mills
- Prevention of the release of greenhouse-gas emissions
UTZ Certified is currently introducing the technology in Peru and Brazil. UTZ hopes to get further funds and industry's support to replicate the initiative in Africa and Asia.
Source: UTZ Certified