WASTE TO TASTE: Mushies grown at home with coffee, cardboard
WASTE reduction doesn't have to stop with eliminating plastic or using a KeepCup, sustainable living can be taken a step further by transforming the off-cuts from common vegetables into a new food source.
Urban Kulture has developed a clever method of growing nutritious mushrooms using household waste products, such as ground coffee beans and cardboard.
The team will be travelling to Warwick to share their formula later this month, as they aim to reduce the amount of waste thrown in the bin and at the same time put delicious food on plates.
Permaculture educator Ryan Coleman said keeping waste products in the food cycle could not only minimise the volume of waste but also the environmental effects of waste.
"In landfill a lot of these waste products produce a huge amount of methane and it is much more potent in fact than carbon dioxide," he said.
"Especially coffee grinds, it does have nitrogen in it, so if it does go into landfill it will be problematic."
Mr Coleman said coffee grinds had a high nitrogen input with a large amount of nutrients, so they could be combined with lower-nutrient products such as cardboard and turned into highly nutritious mushrooms.
Growing mushrooms starts with developing a culture from the waste stem butts from fresh mushrooms and spawn can be created using recycled paper pellets, hardwood pellets and coffee grounds.
The process also uses very low water and electricity, further enhancing the benefits for the environment.
Mr Coleman said the resources needed to grow mushrooms were all easily found at supermarkets or pet stores.
But growing mushrooms isn't the only use for household waste.
Mr Coleman said there was a lot of scope for using waste products effectively, including for soil development.
"In the last couple of years (there has been) a huge uptake of these technologies and ideas and it's definitely becoming more popular," he said.
"It's a way that we can develop ourselves and the value we bring to the community, it's not so much about the (large-scale) environment but just on the smaller scale how we can take care of our own food consumption."
As a mushroom farmer, MrColeman developed an interest in soil funghi and learnt how to grow the vegetables.
He was approached to join Urban Kulture by founder Aaron Boyer, who has been researching mushroom cultivation since 2010.
The workshops focus on growing wood-lover mushrooms, including oyster and shiitake varieties.
Mr Coleman said growing vegetables from home had always been popular but more knowledge being shared was leading to further discoveries.
"With the knowledge around mushroom-growing there's been a vacuum there and now that knowledge is coming out, so there's a lot of interest in mushrooms now," he said.
The workshop will be held on July 22 from 1-3.15pm at Warwick Scout Group, corner of Matthews St and Horsman Rd.
It costs $95 a person and includes all the materials.
For more information visit Urban Kulture on Facebook or head to urbankulture.com.au.