NewsWorldBelgian company turns coffee into mushrooms and insulating tiles

Belgian company turns coffee into mushrooms and insulating tiles

A Belgian company is transforming used coffee grounds into edible mushrooms and insulating tiles.

The company says the innovation could dramatically reduce urban waste.

At this former industrial site in Brussel, PermaFungi CEO Julien Jacquet is harvesting oyster mushrooms.

“These mushrooms are growing mainly on coffee grounds, we add a bit of straw so the grounds aren’t too compact, which means they’re growing on urban waste.”

PermaFungi collects 5.5 tons of coffee waste every month from daily deliveries from partner cafes across the country.

The coffee grounds are mixed in a large drum where the spores are added and then transferred to the sacks.

After 15 days, the mushrooms are harvested and sold in organic shops.

“JOURNALIST ASKING: “Why do it on coffee grounds?”

“There are several reasons. The first is, of course, it’s a perfect base to grow oyster mushrooms, which is what we’re growing here, but also it’s a waste material which doesn’t look much but 15,000 tons of it is thrown away every year in Brussels alone, it’s very acidic, and it has a lot of uses, including becoming a base material for other things.”

After growing mushrooms for years, PermaFungi is now using the residue from their oyster mushroom cultivation to create a biodegradable material that they say can replace plastic.

How? By adding mycelium.

The company has got its first commercial order for its new fungus-based insulating tiles.

As governments around the world look to prioritize the circular economy as a way of cutting carbon emissions, PermaFungi believes it offers a solution.

The company is now seeking investment to scale up production, hoping to produce 13 tons of the mycelium material a month by 2025.


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