How Reground is using waste for good

The Reground team is on a mission to turn waste into a resource to create a waste-free world. 

Have you ever wondered what happens to the coffee grounds that supply your morning coffee? What about the soft plastic that can’t go in the recycling bin?

Ninna Larsen did more than wonder what happened to waste. She created a social enterprise that would (re)use it for good. Enter: Reground; a social enterprise helping organisations and individuals create a circular economy through waste collection and waste minimisation projects.

The Reground team is on a mission to turn waste into a resource to create a waste-free world. They have three key ways of doing this: Collecting ground coffee and chaff (a by-product of the coffee roasting process) from businesses and diverting it back to the local community for use, diverting soft plastic from a lifetime in landfill and turning them back into a resource, and providing strategies and solutions in waste reduction through data-driven behavioural change.

Established in 2015, Reground has played an important and influential role in shaping Melbourne’s growing circular economy. Ninna’s brainchild has now grown into a team of 12, including drivers and office staff that are based in Melbourne Innovation Centre's (MIC) Alphington Incubator.
And there’s even more growth to come, says Reground Communications Manager Fiona Parsons. 

“It’s a very exciting time for our business and the sustainability sector in general,” Fiona explains.

“Initially people did not always understand what Reground was trying to accomplish, but the conversation around waste, sustainability and circularity has really changed. ” 
With the change in conversation has come increased recognition for the social enterprise. 
“This has been a big year for us,” Fiona says.
“We were finalists for the Premier’s Sustainability Award, which is a great award with some fascinating enterprises involved. And very recently we won the Melbourne Award for Sustainability, which was just amazing. The Melbourne Award is specifically designed to recognise individuals and organisations that commit their time and energy to making a positive contribution to the city.

“Being recognised in that way was really powerful, I think. It’s a sign that waste (and particularly the importance of waste and resource recovery as they relate to sustainability) are growing in visibility. ”
As a champion of sustainability and positive progress, MIC Alphington has been the proud home of the Reground team since its early days, providing the enterprise with office space, equipment and networking opportunities to drive continued growth. 

“It’s such a great fit for us to be here,” Fiona explains. As a small business working across quite different areas, we’ve been very lucky to have access to the facilities at MIC. On the one hand, we have the physical space and the infrastructure that we need for our ground coffee, chaff and soft plastic collections; at the same time, we have access to office space, meeting rooms and administrative support that have been instrumental in building the legitimacy and reputation of our organisation, especially in the early stages.”

But the support goes beyond logistics, Fiona says.

“There’s also an emotional component to being involved with MIC. In being around peer and like-minded businesses; particularly those in the sustainability space, as well as other start-ups. “It’s enabled us to create collaborations and connections that would have been otherwise difficult to forge and to learn from and support each other. It’s like a ready-made network.” 
Would Fiona recommend MIC facilities to others?
“Absolutely. Especially to businesses like us in the startup sustainability sector. It’s a great place to be.” 

We can’t wait to watch how Reground grows next.

For more details about Reground visit their website here
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