Recycling Scrap and Waste Can Be Good Business

If businesses paid a little more attention to recycling waste they might be surprised to find that it can save, and even make, them money.

According to not-for-profit environmental group Planet Ark, only 60% of commercial and industrial waste is recycled, but some Australian businesses are starting to think outside the square.

Large amounts of items such as metal, plastic, cardboard and food scraps are often dumped in landfills by businesses without considering how they can actually be recycled. Brad Gray of Planet Ark says that using a recycling contractor to pick up their waste instead of sending it to landfill can actually be more profitable.

In Sydney alone, 3,000 tonnes of coffee grounds are dumped in landfill annually from the 921 inner city cafes. But coffee grounds can be recycled to make oil or compost, which is something an enterprising pair of mine workers in Western Australia have cottoned onto.

Last year Ryan Creed and Julian Mitchell decided that growing mushrooms was a business making venture, as well as a way to reduce the large carbon footprint agriculture can produce. They raised $30,000 through Crowdfunding to start an urban mushroom farm and cycled around Fremantle collecting coffee grounds from cafes and restaurants. These were deposited at a commercial farm where 240 kgs of mushrooms were grown in the moist grounds over a period of three months.

The mushrooms have been sold to local restaurants and are turning up on menus as Fremantle oyster mushrooms, a local delicacy. There is something quite satisfying about this thinks Scott Bridger, Bib and Tucker’s head chef, who orders two to three kgs of mushrooms a week for a signature dish.

“They are so delicate, so full of flavour and I think the best part is that they come from our coffee. They are grown in our coffee and delivered back to us as mushrooms, it is just winner all around,” he says.

Creed and Mitchell later repurpose the coffee grounds as garden fertiliser by mixing it with straw. The enterprising pair have also come up with a home box kit where you can grow mushrooms on your kitchen bench at home. They sold 400 boxes after just a month and have encouraged 10 local schools to sell the boxes as part of fundraising campaigns rather than chocolate. They hope to eventually branch out into retail stores.


While we don’t grow mushrooms we are in the business of recycling, so we are interested in any kind of scrap metal you have and we offer great prices for it. Contact us for all your scrap metal recycling needs today!