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Blue Butterfly teams up with Orchardstown Garden Centre for Chaff reuse and recycling.


As part of its efforts to reduce its carbon footprint Waterford coffee roaster, Blue Butterfly appealed to any and all who could find a use for and is willing to take its excess chaff. This offer was taken up by Orchardstown Garden Centre who gladly accepted this valuable byproduct.

At this point, you might be wondering what coffee chaff is? It’s simply the waste product from the roasting process. As the green coffee is heated, its last remaining protective layer flakes off. This parchment is known as coffee chaff. It’s very light with a delicate, almost papery texture. It is blown from the roasting chamber and into a chaff collection compartment. Some coffees ‘shed’ more than others, but even so, the build-up of chaff within the compartment can amount to quite a lot.

Previously Blue Butterfly disposes of its chaff as we all do our waste products, via regular collections for land fill. Though founder and owner of Blue Butterfly, Fintan Stanley realised this had to change, “An estimated 2 billion tonnes of coffee by-products are produced internationally every year and one of the largest contributors is chaff. But it has its uses, whether as mulch, compost, bedding or made into briquettes for fuel. It has even been repurposed into ice cream topping or used to produce car parts. It’s certainly an extremely versatile product.”

Ron Dool, owner of Orchardstown Garden Centre certainly appreciates this opportunity, “We are delighted to have a regular supply of chaff for our land. The most obvious use is as compost for fertilizer, whether it be in a garden centre or a farm. It’s organic and biodegradable, though when left in a land fill it creates methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. So, if we can find another use for this it doubly helps the environment.

“Because it is organic and hydrophobic, it makes a great addition to regular mulch. By incorporating a three-inch layer of chaff onto your garden’s soil in autumn, you can considerably reduce soil erosion. The chaff will act as a soil cover.

“Chaff is light and mixes well with other compostable contents. It’s best to layer it, as with most composting, with food waste, existing compost, a little cardboard. grass cuttings and more. Coffee chaff is rich in nitrogen and so not only enriches soil but helps vegetables like tomatoes grow well. We’ll continue to accept and use Blue Butterfly’s chaff for as long as it’s available.”


Coffee Chaff helps to ward off slugs and snails, as they dislike the smell of coffee. Chaff makes great animal bedding for pets like chickens and rabbits. It’s easy to handle, clean and soft. It also provides potash in small amounts and a solid 2% of potassium. These nutrients taken together will improve the health of your soil, boost plant growth and preserves soil moisture, preventing it from drying out.

If you’re like Orchardstown Garden Centre and own a business that could make use of this extraordinary by-product, just contact Blue Butterfly directly on 051 344000 or email info@bluebutterfly.ie.

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