USING TEA WASTE AS FERTILISER
At Nestlé Everyday – the biggest tea creamer in Pakistan – we strive to make tea moments special and help people reconnect with what truly matters in life. And that’s underpinned by our overarching company purpose: enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future. For us, this ambition isn’t limited to consumer experience of our products; it’s also about the effect we have on the communities in which we operate and the world around us.
In Pakistan alone, 100 billion cups of tea are consumed every year – producing around 200,000 tonnes of used tea leaves. So we set about investigating that by-product, and we asked ourselves one question: what could we do with all that waste?
Looking at the research, we found that tea contains nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium: the three major nutrients that qualify any compost as a complete fertiliser. It improves soil quality – maintaining moisture and increasing oxygen levels – and even allows earthworms to thrive. In other words, tea compost is a perfect way to support plant health, prevent pest infestations and stave off disease.
With that in mind, we know that there’s a fantastic opportunity to positively affect the lives and livelihoods of millions via a social initiative that creates a compost product out of used tea. And that’s why we’re looking for a partner who can work with us to harness that potential and create this potentially game-changing product.
The idea is to bring three main benefits: reduce (tea) waste, increase agricultural yields and offer farmers an economical natural fertiliser. So we’re planning on working with external partners on a few key elements.
We’ll pilot in Pakistan – where agriculture is the largest economic sector, with 47% of the land (30,440,000ha.) used for arable farming. And then we’ll look to expand into other major markets like India, China and beyond. We truly believe that the right product could offer an environmentally friendly, zero-waste solution that enhances agricultural productivity around the world.
Don’t worry if you don’t have the whole solution – this is a multifaceted project, so we’re happy to hear from anyone with any of the pieces of the puzzle. And we’re open to anyone, from start-ups and innovators to waste management companies and corporate partners.
First, we’d need to find a way to procure wasted tea, so we’ll most likely be looking for partnerships with established waste collection and recycling systems. Whether you work in circular economy, zero waste solutions, recycling, or even in a commercial entity which deals with large quantities of tea, we want to hear from you.
Second, we’ll work together to convert that tea into a fertiliser – ideally through a composting process to further enhance its potential impact. So if you’re involved in natural fertilisers, sustainable farming products or natural agriculture solutions then you’ll be exactly the kind of person we want to hear from.
Finally, we’ll look to productise & commercialise – selling our new product to local farmers as a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly solution. The details of the commercial arrangement are totally flexible, but we’re keen to ensure that proceeds from the project are reinvested to make the greatest possible impact. It’s all up for discussion, but anyone with experience in creating new agricultural products and taking them to market could be ideal collaborators!
So we want to hear from you. If you have any relevant skills, capabilities or ideas then please do get in touch by applying today!
If you have any questions about this particular challenge, you can get in touch with Fahad here.
Why It Matters
The environmental consequences or non-sustainable farming methods are well-documented, and it’s time to act. This is a sustainable solution that could safeguard the environment and contribute to cleaner, greener practice for years to come. We’re also helping farmers to access a cost-effective fertiliser solution, so they can do the right thing for the planet without making commercial compromises.
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