Donut Waste’s Coffee Recycling Mission in Balga

Ethan Robinson 04/01/2024 Recycling
Balga's Donut Waste

An innovative business in Balga, Donut Waste, is transforming coffee grounds and other discarded materials into valuable products, exemplifying the potential of a circular economy.

Donut Waste received high commendation at the 2023 WasteSorted Awards.

The Journey of Donut Waste

Sharka Hornakova, the founder of Donut Waste, launched this social enterprise in 2021. With a background in e-waste recycling and as a waste education officer for the City of Stirling, Hornakova has always been passionate about reducing waste.

Her company’s efforts are not limited to recycling but also include educational workshops. These workshops teach recycling practices and promote a circular economy, along with fun activities like making DIY body scrubs and plastic-free deodorant.

A Focus on Coffee Grounds

The enterprise’s primary focus is on coffee grounds, a choice driven by Hornakova’s passion for tackling organic and food waste. She recognized that separating coffee grounds is quite straightforward in cafes and saw immense potential due to Australia’s love for coffee.

Originally from the Czech Republic, Hornakova was motivated by the differences in waste treatment between Western Australia and Europe to initiate change through her business.

Coffee grounds, when decomposed in landfills, release methane. However, their composting can result in nutrient-rich soils. Donut Waste proudly claims on its website the recycling of 63.5 million tonnes of coffee grounds and 4,154 hessian bags used for coffee bean packaging.

upcycled coffee products
upcycled coffee products

How It Works

Participating cafes fill bins provided by Donut Waste with their coffee grounds, which are then collected and sent to a Swan Valley company. This company turns the grounds into compost for community use.

Additionally, Donut Waste has creatively ventured into making coffee soaps and scrubs. However, the challenge lies in competing with the convenience and cost-effectiveness of landfill disposal.

Beyond Coffee: Recycling Beer Can Clips

Expanding its horizon, Donut Waste has also targeted beer can clips. These clips, often discarded and not recycled through residential bins, can be reused up to 50 times.

The enterprise has recycled over 100,000 beer can clips, collaborating with about 70 Perth liquor stores and other locations like HBF Stadium.

These stores act as collection points where customers and employees can dispose of the clips. The main challenge in recycling these clips is the effort required to remove stickers and clean them, given their varied colours, shapes, and sizes.

Hornakova and her team initially tackled this manually until they found a solution with Workpower. This organization, employing people with disabilities, helps in soaking, cleaning, sorting, and repackaging the clips for resale to breweries.

With the festive season nearing, Donut Waste anticipates a surge in the collection of beer can clips. Hornakova’s initiative is not just about recycling but also about fostering a community that values and actively participates in a sustainable and circular economy.

To know more information about their business, visit their website at

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  • Ethan Robinson

    Ethan is a content editor with a background in environmental journalism. He’s an enthusiastic home cook and collector of vintage records.

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