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Press release

Edible mushrooms from coffee grounds - PORR supports sustainable Viennese company Hut & Stiel

Vienna, October 17, 2019 - By cooperating with the Viennese start-up Hut & Stiel, PORR is taking a small, but important step towards zero waste. The coffee grounds of around 1,000 employees are collected at the PORR headquarters in Vienna. This means that more than seven tonnes of coffee grounds per year can be used for growing oyster mushrooms.

The oyster mushrooms from Hut & Stiel grow in an old Viennese cellar in the 20th district.
The oyster mushrooms from Hut & Stiel grow in an old Viennese cellar in the 20th district. © Hut & Stiel/Steiner

Protecting the environment and conserving resources is without a doubt one of the greatest challenges of our time. Every little helps when it comes to using local resources, promoting environmentally friendly processes and avoiding waste. But how can the growing demands for sustainable and ecological concepts be combined with entrepreneurship? The Hut & Stiel team has the answer: new food is produced from existing resources from what would usually be considered waste. Several PORR employees saw the appeal of this approach and so they submitted a proposal for cooperation as part of an ideas contest. 

"Sustainable action is an essential part of our social responsibility and plays an important role at PORR. Whether through construction projects, our bee initiative or cooperation with ecological firms - as a construction company we help shape the future and can make a decisive contribution through many small steps. By cooperating with Hut & Stiel, we are also raising awareness within PORR of waste avoidance and resource conservation," says PORR CEO Karl-Heinz Strauss. 

Urban agriculture 

"Cooperation with companies like PORR is extremely important for us as a small start-up with a very special type of business. We depend on the support of companies to ensure we have sufficient coffee grounds. However, both sides benefit from the cooperation: it enables PORR to reduce its residual waste with relatively little effort. As our partner company, PORR is sending out a clear signal of environmental protection and resource conservation. We are therefore looking forward to a successful long-term cooperation", says Hut & Stiel founder Manuel Bornbaum. 

When it comes to sustainability, PORR draws inspiration from its own staff; after all, innovation lies in every PORRian. An Ideas contest was held, in which innovative approaches and solutions were collected and then examined and evaluated by a jury of experts. The most innovative minds were honoured and their ideas implemented. This is also how the cooperation with the Viennese company came about. Since December 2018, the coffee grounds at the PORR headquarters have no longer been thrown away as refuse, but instead collected in special containers. 

The Hut & Stiel team regularly picks up the valuable product and takes it away from PORR on a bicycle – completely emission-free of course. This means that around 150 kilograms of coffee grounds become available each week for mushroom production, resulting in a volume of over seven tonnes per year. The cellar of an old Viennese building in the 20th district then offers the perfect climatic conditions for mushroom cultivation. After just a few days, delicious oyster mushrooms sprout from the coffee grounds and can be resold to a wide variety of restaurants and markets. Together with Hut & Stiel, PORR is showing what urban agriculture can look like. 

The cycle closes 

The PORRians themselves have now also been able to savour the results of the cooperation. The Kulinarium, the restaurant of the PORR headquarters in Vienna, ran a week-long initiative under the motto "autumn is mushroom season". The tasty oyster mushrooms were cooked in various ways every day: from mushroom pasta to fried, breaded mushrooms and the pulled mushroom burger, there was something delicious for everyone. The Hut & Stiel team were also onsite offering the chance to sample other products from their range. 

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Cornelia HarlacherCorporate Spokesperson