Second Life for Coffee Grounds? Used Grounds Show Promise in Removing Toxins from Water

Millions of tons of used coffee grounds are discarded annually, posing a burden on landfills and potentially harming wildlife. But a new study offers a hopeful solution: turning these grounds into warriors against environmental toxins.

Researchers published their findings in the Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology, revealing that spent coffee grounds can be repurposed into powerful adsorbents. In simpler terms, they can trap and remove harmful substances from water.

The study focused on bentazone, a common herbicide used in agriculture that can have serious health consequences. Bentazone is a neurotoxin, meaning it can damage the nervous system.

The researchers treated the coffee grounds with zinc chloride to activate the carbon within them. This activated carbon proved highly effective, capturing bentazone from water with a 70% success rate. The treated coffee grounds also performed well in sensitive tests designed to detect pollutants in water.

"These findings highlight the potential of spent coffee grounds as a sustainable and low-cost solution for water remediation," the study's authors noted. They emphasized the importance of a "circular economy," where waste products are given a second life and used productively.

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