A team of researchers from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) has discovered that coffee grounds can be used as a substitute for silica in concrete production. In the right proportions, it provides a much stronger chemical bond than sand alone, writes Engadget.

Coffee grounds cannot simply be mixed with regular concrete because they will not bind to other materials due to their organic content. To make it more compatible, scientists heated it to high temperatures and added it to the concrete mix.

Scientists have found that 350°C is the ideal temperature that provides a 29.3% increase in material strength. The team published these findings in the Journal of Cleaner Production.

This approach also has positive environmental implications, as the use of coffee grounds will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“The disposal of organic waste poses an environmental challenge as it emits large amounts of greenhouse gases including methane and carbon dioxide, which contribute to climate change,” noted the authors of the study.

It is known that Australia collects 75 million kg of used coffee grounds every year, most of which ends up in landfills.