SUSTAINABILITY AT CHARLESTOWN SQUARE
Rising sea levels, unique weather occurrences and accepting the harsh realities of the Australian climate, Charlestown Square has committed to make positive and significant changes to the way we operate and develop our asset, placing a strong consideration on our water, waste and energy use.
Our focus has been to drive and implement innovative environmental measures and systems that enhance performance but also, minimise our impact on the environment. Did you know the Charlestown Square has reduced its carbon emissions from 97 gas emission per square metre (2005) to just 18 gas emission per square metre as of 2016? That is a massive reduction of 89%!
GROWING A MUSHROOM FARM ON GROUND COFFEE WASTE
The Hunter’s first mushroom farm has popped up in Charlestown Square, through a partnership that saves ground coffee waste from around the centre to form the bed for mushroom spawn to grow. As part of a coffee loving region, Charlestown Square was approached as the home for the farm due to our commitment to environmental awareness and sustainability.
Coffee grounds from 17 of the centre’s coffee making establishments will be re-used to grow a variety of mushrooms. Working with local business, Bean Cycled, the brainchild of Hunter-based sister and brother Leisha Mongan and Steven Parkinson, mushrooms are grown out of ‘waste’ that would otherwise go to landfill. A special lab room for mixing and production, as well as a fruiting room, have been set up at Charlestown Square to create the strict conditions for mushroom growing.
The initiative helps our centre reduce its environmental footprint, and removes the cost of disposing coffee grounds from the centre’s cafes. After the mushrooms have been grown, the used coffee grounds will be made available to schools and community gardens as rich compost.
Coffee retailers in the centre are pleased to be part of the process as they are offered a hassle-free service to dispose of waste responsibly. Working with Bean Cycled is a great way for our Charlestown Square team to help other businesses make a difference in the region.
Bean Cycled will sell the mushrooms to local businesses, with the hope that up to 90 kilograms of oyster mushrooms can be grown each week from the ground coffee waste sourced from the centre.
A 2016 report by Planet Ark found that Australians drink six billion cups of coffee per year. Around 93 per cent of coffee grounds go to landfill where they can produce methane and carbon dioxide, greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. The coffee brewing process pasteurises the coffee grounds, a process that is vital to remove contaminants from the material in which the mushrooms grow so successfully.