kafsimo@karditsa: Activating citizens through biomass recycling into heating pellets

incommon (GR), Energy Community of Karditsa (GR)

The kafsimo@karditsa project (kafsimo is a pun on the Greek words kafes=coffee and kafsimo=fuel) addresses environmental challenges by transforming coffee waste into renewable heat, thereby empowering the local community. Through the tangible utilization of used coffee, the community observes how the cycle of an organic waste is closing - shifting the general perception from waste to valuable resources.

More specifically, the project activates citizens through the collection of coffee waste from cafés and combines them with municipal prunings in order to produce heating pellets. Part of these pellets feed a biomass boiler installed in a municipal building that houses a kindergarten, covering its thermal needs, and part is offered free of charge to customers of the social grocery. As a result, the school community becomes the carrier of this participatory and innovative practice, sharing it with households and the rest of the local community.

The project’s main objectives are to (1) raise awareness in a participatory way and change our mentality around organic waste, (2) produce a solid biofuel in line with the principles of the circular bioeconomy (3) close the coffee lifecycle by giving it back to its community,which with their involvement, trust is strengthened in new and innovative projects.The objectives are achieved through the synergy of a range of stakeholders and an ecosystem of local actors that are equally involved for the materialization of the project, including: incommon, ESEK, CERTH (Centre for Research & Technology, Hellas), local cafés, the Municipality of Karditsa, and the wider local community who have embraced and supported the initiative since its initial steps.

This project indicates how social engineering, energy production and behavior change can be combined and provide an easy, direct, understandable, and environmentally friendly solution.


Incommon (GR)  is a civil non-profit organization which supports local communities (citizens, schools, businesses and institutional actors) to speed up the transition from the current dominant linear to a circular model of life. 

Energy Community of Karditsa (ESEK) (GR) is a citizen energy cooperative, established in 2010. It counts more than 400 members and since 2018 has been producing biofuels in the form of pellets and distributing them to the local society while engaging all the local stakeholders in order to create a value chain, an ecosystem of local actors.

The project aims to create a circular economy model by converting coffee waste into renewable heat, promoting sustainability, and fostering community engagement. It involves collecting coffee waste from local cafes, combining it with municipal prunings, and producing heating pellets. These pellets cover the thermal needs of a kindergarten and are distributed free to customers of a social grocery. Engaging various stakeholders, including local cafes and the Municipality of Karditsa, the project emphasises inclusivity and active participation. By diverting coffee waste from landfills and reducing CO2 emissions, it aligns with European policies on the circular economy and sustainability.