As you will know if you are a regular reader of my blog, I love golf and coffee so when I heard of a company that was turning coffee grounds into making golf tees, I had to find out more.
As a Co-Director of a sustainable towel company bando, I am learning more and more about how to recycle and the effects of plastic on the planet. With two young Grandchildren, I am concerned for the world that they will inherit and keen to do my bit to provide them with a planet they can enjoy.
David Sheperd the CEO of the Scandinavian Club just outside of Copenhagen is taking great steps to make the club a leader in sustainable processes and to help its members and visitors to reduce their carbon footprint. David introduced me to Jakob Nyvold a 26-year-old keen amateur golfer who is studying for his master’s in business studies and commercial law with a passion to help save the planet.
Whilst studying Jakob worked at his local golf club in Copenhagen one of his jobs was to collect broken golf tees on every teeing ground all of which were made from plastic or wood. He also saw how golf tees damaged the greenkeeper’s machinery if they were not collected.
He set about trying to find a solution based around the company vision “To inspire and accelerate golf’s contribution to a sustainable world”. Seeing his mother throw coffee grounds on her roses in her back-garden Jakob came up with an idea to collect coffee waste from local cafés and restaurants and turn them into golf tees thus minimising the waste and reducing the need for plastic, wood or bamboo to be used in the production of golf tees.
The wood and bamboo tee production result in unsustainable harvesting around the world and with the majority of tees being made in the far east requiring aircraft transportation across the globe the current tee production process does not fit into any sustainable solution.
With over 65 million golfers across the planet all using tees to enjoy their game Jakob saw that if his solution was successful it could make a real difference reducing unsustainable harvesting, upcycling of coffee grounds and reduction of air transportation.
Currently, the coffee supply chain contributes about 1% of the global climate impact. The used coffee grounds decomposed in landfills or are burnt for energy-generating greenhouse gasses if not utilized. 347 m3 of methane gas is averted for every 1 million tons of coffee upcycled – that’s equivalent to 41,410 miles driven by an average passenger vehicle worth of greenhouse gasses which is scary!
With these figures in mind, Greenup was created and they undertook a two-year process to eradicate plastics, wood & bamboo from their tee production process whilst providing a tee that lasts longer and uses coffee grounds from a local source.
Jakob made several moulds firstly in the shape of nails and then found the right mould for the two sizes of tees they offer. The oils and the grains are separated by Kaffe Bueno the coffee waste provider and coffee fibres poured into a funnel before being directed into the moulds 250,000 per week can be made currently whilst they hire the machinery to host the moulds.
The tees last longer than other tees but when they do break, they return to a natural state, leaving nothing behind to harm the environment apart from additional benefits of providing nitrogen and phosphorus found in coffee which are important components to improve the health of the grass.
There is now no need for aircraft to transport golf tees from the far east whilst making a product that all golfers love. The Greenup golf tees come in a biodegradable bag which decomposes naturally, and the tees even smell like your morning coffee who would have thought!
Currently, the company only sells to Danish clubs and collects its coffee grounds from Denmark, Holland and Germany. The plan is to have a local production unit for every golfing country. The next step is the production of tees for the British market with the tees being made from coffee grounds from your local coffee house.
To think I could be using a tee that comes from coffee grounds from Tattam’s, our family bar, this ticks a number of boxes when trying to provide my grandkids with a better planet.
Sustainability is the buzzword in golf currently and quite rightly so. A number of the top clubs give away tees to their members and their guests. I am sure that they will happily do away with logoed wooden tees if their members know that they are truly using a recycled product. With more taxes being introduced on plastic products from April in the UK it’s certainly worth considering using Greenup to reduce these costs in addition to reducing every club’s carbon footprint.
Jakob is planning to add a ball marker and pitch mark repairer to the Greenup products which will probably take another 6 months to a year to perfect.
It is simple, easy to understand, no compromise and a much greener solution than the one that exists today. It won’t change your game, but it will give every golf club and its members, guests and visitors the opportunity of changing the future to a better and greener tomorrow.
Until next time