Author: development

27 Jul 2018
cricket pitch

Com‘batting’ climate change for the sake of cricket

Among the bio-bean team there are quite a few cricket enthusiasts, while as an environmental company our aim is to help tackle issues like climate change. So we investigated the link between the two and what is being done about it…

By Christian de Vitry, Sales & Marketing Intern

Cricket has perhaps the closest relationships with the environment out of any sport in the world. Whether it’s on the streets of Delhi or on the pristine pitch at Lord’s, climatic conditions will always have a significant effect on how the game is played.

In England, rain is the main threat to the sport, causing nearly a third of its home One Day Internationals since 2000 to be played with reduced overs. Sure, bad weather isn’t exactly a new phenomenon here in Britain, but things are getting worse. Steve Birks, groundsman at Trent Bridge, recently said that “The rain is getting tropical, it is getting heavier” – indeed, with climate change on the rise, its effect on the game are starting to show. In 2015, the England Cricket Board estimated that extreme weather, directly linked to climate change, was responsible for over £3.5 million worth of damage across 57 cricket clubs in England and Wales.

The effects of climate change on cricket are being felt around the world. Last year, hurricanes Irma and Maria tore through the Caribbean, devastating much of the land including five major cricket venues. A drought in South Africa gave the Western Province Cricket association little choice but to cancel all club and school cricket. Similarly, in 2016, the Indian Premier League had to postpone 13 matches in the Maharashtra region due to drought.

Dominica Windsor Park Stadium after hurricane Irma
Dominica Windsor Park Stadium after hurricane Irma

But perhaps most striking of all was last December’s test between India and Sri Lanka. The match, held in India’s capital New Delhi, had to be held several times due to the levels of air pollution 12 times higher than the limit deemed safe by the WHO. Many of the players wore face masks in a desperate attempt to fight the effects of the toxic air – apparently to little effect, as four Sri Lankan players were reported to have thrown up.

So how is the cricket community reacting to these environmental threats?

A significant incentive to be more environmentally friendly comes from the International Cricket Council (ICC), with sustainability among a range of factors affecting a ground’s chances of being selected by the ICC as venue for international cricket matches.

Pollution levels 12x higher than WHO limits at the India-Sri Lanka test match in December 2017
Players wearing pollution masks to fight the effects of toxic air pollution

The KIA Oval, for instance, is working to tackle their single use plastic consumption by launching a reusable cup scheme, getting rid of all plastic straws, non-combustible cups and bottles and providing more water fountains around the ground. By partnering with us at bio-bean, the Oval is now moving to recycle all of its coffee waste from what is estimated to be million cups of coffee consumed on the ground every year.

From my personal experience of working at Lord’s, the home of English cricket, reducing the ground’s environmental footprint is evidently very important. Behind every bar, there were four different bins to separate and recycle different waste streams, as well as further efforts to reduce plastics, improve energy performance, reduce carbon emissions and minimise waste. Their recently developed Warner stand has an electricity-generating photovoltaic roof, as well as a water collection and recycling system.

Sustainable sport isn’t solely a cricket movement, but one gathering momentum all over the world of sport. In football, Juventus have recently unveiled their 2018-19 third kit, exclusively made from recovered ocean plastics. In ice skating, the National Hockey League has responded to threats of a shrinking skating season in eastern Canada through a comprehensive sustainability strategy including cutting water and energy consumption, composting its waste and counterbalancing over 900,000MW of energy since 2014. And global sporting associations for sailing, athletics, rugby, golf, triathlons and surfing have all pledged to support the UN’s recent campaign to eradicate single-use plastic in sport.


20 Jun 2018
close-up of bees


This week, a swarm of bees turned up at our Alconbury factory in search of a new home.

We called the Huntingdonshire Beekeepers Association and were able to arrange for someone to come and collect the bees. The bees were coaxed gradually a wooden hive box containing sweet treats. Our bio-bees have now been rehoused with a local beekeeper who had a brand new hive ready and waiting.

We also found out some interesting facts about bee swarms:

  • A bee swarm is a mass of bees clustered together on a post, tree or other structure. It’s a natural occurrence, most often found in Spring and the swarm may remain there for only a few minutes or as long as a few days while the bees look for a new home.
  • Swarming bees are not dangerous – they should be left alone and not sprayed with a hose, smoke or insecticide. If left alone, the bees shouldn’t harm you.
  • Bees are having a pretty tough time at the moment – weather conditions this winter means there are less colonies this year.
  • Most areas will have a local beekeeping club whose members are willing to collect swarms of bees and give them a new home. Find out more about what to do if you find a swarm here.



14 Jun 2018
Coffee Logs Production

Photo story: inside the world’s first coffee recycling factory

Over summer 2018 we’re making some mega changes to the machinery, the processes and the layout of our two former aircraft hangars that house our coffee recycling facility. These upgrades will ensure our processes are as efficient as possible and our carbon footprint as low as possible.

Given that it will soon look very different from its former setup, we thought we’d take a look back at this photo series by Miles Willis last year. Miles’ photography focuses on sustainability in the food sector, and we’d previously worked with him for a feature in Jellied Eel magazine. So it seemed like a good fit to have him come and photograph our coffee recycling factory.

The photos below demonstrate the journey from when coffee is tipped at our site through to Coffee Logs and coffee pellets ready for distribution to our retail partners.

Photo credit for all: Miles Willis photography.

Coffee waste from Costa Coffee stores is delivered on a daily basis in these trucks, through logistics company JNL.
Coffee waste from Costa Coffee stores is delivered on a daily basis in these trucks, through logistics company JNL.
Tipping at the factory
Tipping at the factory
Our colleague Shaun is factory production manager pictured with coffee grounds
Our colleague Shaun is factory production manager
The telehandler collects coffee from the pile and bucket by bucket, the material is processed and dried down to a low moisture content.
This bit of kit is one of several ‘sieves’ which the coffee grounds are passed through to decontaminate them.
Shaun drives the telehandler
Coffee pellets are created by compressing clean, dry coffee grounds mixed with a little binding agent. They can then be used in biomass boilers as an alternative to woodchip pellets.
The control centre! Small changes to temperature and pressure can have a significant impact on our products, and our team works hard to ensure consistency.
Quality checking on the briquetting line. Coffee Logs are made by mixing a small amount of sawdust with dried waste coffee grounds, then compressing them using specially modified briquetters.
31 May 2018

Video: Roadchef partners with bio-bean and Olleco

Three companies with a shared vision of doing more with waste have come together, to ensure nothing ends up in landfill… and starting with coffee.




Roadchef recycling coffee grounds to reduce its environmental impact

30 May 2018 – Roadchef, the UK’s leading motorway service operator, has partnered with bio-bean – the first ever business to recycle waste coffee grounds into biofuel on an industrial scale – to reduce its environmental impact.

As a nation, the UK drinks 55 million cups of coffee every day, creating 500,000 tonnes of waste coffee grounds every year, most of which is disposed of via landfill. This is not only a costly form of waste disposal for businesses due to the UK government’s landfill tax but is also damaging the environment due to the emission of greenhouse gases.

Used coffee grounds are collected from 28 Roadchef sites by Olleco, a resource recovery company, which transports the grounds to bio-bean’s factory in Cambridgeshire. Here they are cleaned, dried and recycled into useful products for industry and homes, including pellets for heating and Coffee Logs for woodburners in homes.

Roadchef welcomes more than 50 million motorists through the doors of its motorway service areas around the country every year, and estimates that about 7 million cups of coffee are drunk at its sites each year. Roadchef and bio-bean estimate that over 200 tonnes of waste coffee grounds will be collected from Roadchef sites by the end of 2018 by Olleco. Recycling these grounds will save 112 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions compared to disposing of them to landfill.

Simon Turl, CEO of Roadchef, commented “At Roadchef we are very proud to have partnered with bio-bean on an initiative that benefits the environment. Since working with bio-bean we have already seen financial savings due to a reduction in our waste weight and we look forward to a long and prosperous partnership.”

George May, Chief Commercial Officer at bio-bean, said “It’s fantastic to be able to recycle coffee grounds from one of the UK’s largest motorway services through Olleco’s innovative collection service. This partnership reduces emissions by diverting coffee grounds away from landfill, and Roadchef have even gone one step further by stocking our Coffee Logs at their sites. It’s a circular system we’re proud to be a part of.”

Gavin Millar, Sales Director at Olleco, said “We are pleased to be able to help Roadchef convert their waste coffee grounds, used cooking oil and waste food into renewable energy.”




About Roadchef

Roadchef is one of the UK’s leading motorway and trunk road service operators. With 30 locations, the company aims to provide a restful and relaxing environment for over 50 million visitors to its sites each year.

Popular brands located at certain sites include McDonald’s, Costa, WHSmith, SPAR, Chozen Noodle and Days Inn. In addition, Roadchef’s own brand offerings include Fresh Food Café, Restbite and Hot Food Co.

About bio-bean

bio-bean was founded in 2013 on the firm belief that there is no such thing as waste, only resources in the wrong place. The company recycles thousands of tonnes of waste coffee grounds every year, converting them into biofuels in a sustainable and commercially viable way. bio-bean’s first consumer product is Coffee Logs for stoves and woodburners, and the company’s R&D team is also exploring a range of other viable products derived from coffee waste.

About Olleco

Olleco is ABP Food Group’s renewables division. It is the UK’s leading supplier of premium cooking oils and fats and collector of used cooking oil and waste food, serving over 50,000 catering establishments. The waste oil collected is converted into biodiesel and the waste food collected is converted into biomethane, electricity and heat via anaerobic digestion. Olleco employs over 600 people, has 23 depots strategically located across the country, three bio-refineries, a biodiesel plant and three anaerobic digestion facilities.

31 May 2018
Bio-bean going single-use plastic free

bio-bean’s plastic-free challenge


We’ve all seen the heart-wrenching pictures: the seahorse clutching a plastic cotton bud, gulls with insides full of miscellaneous bits of plastic, and seals choked by plastic bags. We’ve seen the surge in global media coverage of our giant plastic problem since David Attenborough hammered it home with Blue Planet (distressing and awe-inspiring in equal parts). We’ve criticised everyone from the government to the manufacturers to the supermarkets. But we’ve probably all experienced that nagging feeling that we as individuals are also to blame, and therefore should be able to do something about it.

Image: What Lies Under by Ferdi Rizkiyanto

So Team bio-bean decided to jump on the zero-plastic bandwagon and try to give up single-use (i.e. disposable) plastic for a month. We decided that an outright ban would set ourselves up for failure before we even began so we aimed to eliminate, but committed to significantly reduce our consumption of single-use plastic throughout the month of May. We set up a group chat to encourage each other and share best practices, failures, frustrations and ideas for alternatives.

Starting out as a small group, we soon grew until well over half of the business was involved. Some of us were confident that it would be easy (they were in for a bit of a shock) while others had already been cutting out plastic for some time, and knew all about its sneaky ability to find its way into absolutely everything.

Yup. Plastic in there too

We got off to an optimistic but slightly wobbly start, with the search for plastic-free lunch options yielding some questionable results (tinned soup and cans of tuna – learning later that sadly most tins are lined in plastic), as well as some more satisfactory ones, like burgers in biodegradable boxes and foil-wrapped sandwiches. Once we got into the swing of it, some smug new finds were touted about – reusable water bottles and coffee cups, cosmetics from Lush and market-bought fruit and veg – as well as some early frustrations due to a lack of forward planning (going home hangry after being unable to find a plastic-free snack in the corner shop). The more zealous among us confessed plastics that had been purchased long before the challenge started and cancelled magazine subscriptions due to plastic sleeves, while others were a little more slack (giving in to a hangover’s need for a takeaway, and learning very late in the day that polystyrene, however convenient, is also plastic…)

We signed petitions, we found dry goods refill shops in London (and were exasperated at the lack thereof outside of the capital), and we shared home remedies like white wine and bicarbonate of soda to replace plastic-packaged cleaning products. We found new uses for old things: yoghurt pots, takeaway coffee cups and even ski boots transformed into flower pots; and plastic bags as a reusable alternative to cling film. We learned from some experts in the field – like Weaver Green who make blankets from recycled plastic bottles, and Martin Dorey’s No. More. Plastic. – a book full of brilliant tips (the best, we thought, was research and commit to living within your council’s recycling capabilities).

You pay more when you try to care for both your health and the environment, as we learned from expensive farmer’s markets and artisan bakeries. There are cheaper, less healthy options of course (baked beans, anyone?) but still, 10 days in no-one had managed to be completely single-use-plastic-free. While we had learned a lot about the pitfalls and areas for improvement, it didn’t seem feasible to go 100% #zeroplastic forever and ever amen – at least not without some serious preparation.

But we persevered. Some of us converted to loose-leaf tea to avoid teabags that contain plastic, or switched from plastic bottles of olive oil to 5L tins. We had some happy realisations about staple products packaged in cardboard (like eggs and laundry powder) and less happy realisations that meat and fish are almost impossible to find without plastic wrapping. This was until we found out Morrisons now allow customers to bring their own Tupperware to the fishmonger and butcher counters…

Between picnics, barbecues and generally having to cater for friends who weren’t in on the challenge, many of us failed especially hard over the May bank holiday weekends. Similarly, those team members who lead a double life as a parent also had to compromise – young children are of course both materially very high maintenance (think nappies and wipes) and hard to say no to (think a 4-year-old’s birthday babyccino request).

We asked ourselves some big questions – does a toothbrush count as single-use plastic? Are pizza boxes really recyclable? (Yes and no, as it turns out) Are economics “ruining everything” (as someone phrased it) by keeping biodegradable plastics expensive and fossil-fuel-derived plastic cheap? We were shocked by the lack of information from councils on the recyclability of different materials, and by the false sense of security that what you’re putting in the recycling bin is actually getting recycled. We were unpleasantly surprised to learn that card and paper can be worse than plastic when factoring in the broader environmental footprint (how depressing).

But we had to draw a line in the sand and focus on plastic for now or we’d tie ourselves up in (probably plastic) knots. We used some of those horrifying visuals of plastic wreaking havoc on marine life to keep our eyes on the prize (the prize, of course, being peace of mind for our pious ways).

So here we are at the end of our 31-day challenge, but the journey certainly doesn’t stop here – we’re going to continue to reduce our plastic waste well into the future. You can’t un-see Blue Planet, and once you get started on a plastic-free journey it’s not easy or even desirable to return to selective ignorance. We’ve built new plastic-free habits into our everyday lives, realising there are so many small changes that can make a difference, and more conscious now of the range of alternatives available.

As one of our colleagues aptly pointed out, Rome wasn’t built in a day – and looking at how much we all managed to cut down in a short space of time, it’s not a bad start.


By Pippa Henderson

29 May 2018
Kevin McCloud interview at grand designs live

Our merry month of May

This month the bio-bean team has been hitting the road, participating in Kevin McCloud’s Grand Designs Live in London and exhibiting at sustainability expo edie Live in the NEC, Birmingham.

We’re really proud that our Coffee Logs have been selected by Kevin McCloud as one of his Green Heroes – some of the best environmental homeware products on the market. We were invited to demonstrate Coffee Logs to Grand Designs Live attendees, and our Business Development Manager Matt was interviewed onstage by Kevin McCloud (see image above). Matt was joined by fellow Green Heroes Piñatex, making a leather alternative from pineapple waste; Bamboo Bicycle Club, giving people the skills and the materials to build long-lasting, eco-friendly bicycles; Claire Potter who re-uses plastic waste to create chandeliers and much more; and Sebastian Cox who uses British timber and traditional methods to create bespoke furniture.

It was fantastic to have the opportunity to share the stage with such inspiring individuals and discuss our Coffee Logs with the design guru himself (and to shamelessly get his signature on a Coffee Logs bag!) Here’s Matt discussing how our coffee recycling forms a closed-loop, zero waste system:

Last week we exhibited at edie Live, a two-day expo bringing environment, resources and energy professionals together to share ideas on achieving a sustainable future. Over at stand N38 we were kept very busy with a near-constant stream of visitors! It was brilliant to engage with people who’d only just heard about coffee recycling and give them the tools to get started, as well as reconnect with current partners and some of the people who have been following our journey since the beginning.

L-R: Xav, Jules, Steph and Matt

We also went to see our partner Costa Coffee’s Energy & Environment Manager Oliver Rosevear speaking about recycling coffee cups and sending used coffee grounds to us for recycling. And we got to show off our brand new brochures and business cards – designed by our London office neighbours graphicks (and all printed on recycled paper, of course!)

To stay up-to-date with events and trade shows we’re attending, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram ☕ 

11 Mar 2018

Meet our coffee ground suppliers – Brighton

Having started out in London, bio-bean now collects waste coffee grounds from sites across Birmingham, Manchester and Brighton. And we’ll take any excuse for a road trip to visit some of the people around the country who have signed up for coffee collections, and are providing crucial raw material for our biofuels and biochemicals. Which is how we found ourselves in Brighton this week…

Paper Round Brighton

Paper Round carry out coffee waste collection on our behalf in the Brighton area, so we began with a visit to their facility in Lancing. The less contaminated the grounds are when they arrive at our factory, the easier it is for our team to process them into useful biofuels. Paper Round keep coffee waste separate from food, dry mixed recycling, glass and other waste streams using distinctive orange lids.

Flour Pot Bakery

Our next stop was The Flour Pot Bakery in Hove, where we sampled a couple of delicious coffees. One of Paper Round’s clients, Flour Pot was the first Brighton-based business to sign up to bio-bean’s coffee recycling service.

(Then we took a strictly work-related detour down to the seafront to look out at the water and Brighton Pier.)

Westlain House at The University of Brighton

Finally, we went to the University of Brighton’s Falmer campus. Coffee ground recycling forms an important part of the University hospitality department’s sustainability drive, which encompasses a range of waste reduction initiatives. Starting with Westlain House, coffee recycling will soon be rolled out at other sites throughout the campus.

In the notoriously Green Brighton, it was wonderful to meet some of the people whose commitment to sustainability is helping make bio-bean’s vision a reality.

Louise from Flour Pot Bakery with our colleague Julia
20 Dec 2017
bio-bean advertisement campaign

2017: The Year of the Coffee Log

It’s been quite a year for bio-bean.

2017 has seen our Coffee Logs sales soar beyond expectations and our waste coffee collections reach three new cities in the UK. We’ve delivered a ‘Wonderfuel’ advertising campaign, and we’ve powered London busses with coffee. And we’ve just made a viral video that has been viewed by over 3 million people!


Coffee Logs

It really has been the Year of the Coffee Log for bio-bean. We carried out product improvements, exhibited at the Farm Shop & Deli Show and GLEE and made two new Coffee Logs videos (one of which went viral). We gained recognition from the likes of GIMA and Kevin McCloud and ran a Wonderfuel ad campaign across some of the best ad space in the country.


Meanwhile we converted the waste from 28 million cups of coffee into Coffee Logs, which are now stocked in over 200 garden centres, supermarkets and farm shops nationwide.

To become a stockist contact our sales team – or snap up the perfect Christmas present for the stove owner in your life via one of our retailers.

Coffee recycling factory

This year the production capacity at our Alconbury factory tripled with the installation of new machinery, as well as streamlined production processes. Keeping our focus on environmental sustainability, we commissioned an independent life cycle analysis, which showed that recycling waste coffee with us produces 60% less emissions than sending it to landfill.

We have a number of major plant upgrades planned for next year that will further reduce our carbon footprint, providing an even more sustainable solution for the UK’s coffee waste.

Waste coffee collection

Our waste coffee collection operations have seen significant growth in 2017, both geographically and in terms of volume. We now recycle the waste coffee from over 1,500 sites in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Brighton and most recently Kent. We established new partnerships with waste management and logistics firms, built a repertoire of case studies and set up new collection models for inbound coffee waste. And there’s further expansion in the pipeline! To join our collection route or become a partner, contact us.

Photo credit: Miles Willis

Coffee Oil

Our R&D continues into the extraction of oil from waste coffee grounds for a range of applications. In November we hit an important milestone by supplying biodiesel made partly from Coffee Oil into the London bus network, in collaboration with Argent Energy and Shell, as part of Shell’s  #makethefuture campaign. The project had been a longstanding ambition for bio-bean and secured global media coverage: our founder Arthur Kay was interviewed for CNN, BBC World, Sky News and Bloomberg to name a few!

Shell and bio-bean 2017 Credit: Ed Robinson/Shell


It’s been an amazing year, and there’s even more planned for 2018.

A huge thank you to all of our partners, retailers, customers and supporters for helping us get 2017 #poweredbycoffee!

11 Dec 2017
the burning of coffee logs

10 reasons why you should be burning Coffee Logs this winter

We at bio-bean know why we’d choose our Coffee Logs over other fuels.

But we also know there’s a tiny chance that we’re a bit biased, so we challenged ourselves to come up with 10 really good reasons why you should be burning Coffee Logs this winter…

1. Coffee Logs make the UK’s coffee habit more sustainable – both environmentally and economically. Coffee is a fantastic drink that fuels our day, tastes amazing and overall makes the world a better place. But it also creates a lot of waste – each espresso-based coffee creates about 25 grams of waste coffee grounds. In making Coffee Logs, we’re diverting this waste from landfill (a waste disposal method which is both environmentally disastrous and expensive for businesses). Using Coffee Logs therefore helps us keep recycling coffee, and positively impacting the cafe industry – so you can continue to enjoy drinking coffee long into the distant future.

2. Coffee Logs burn like wood – but better! They contain more energy, and less moisture, than seasoned wood. The result is that they’ll keep your home warmer, for longer.

3. They’re versatile: they can be used in woodburners, multi-fuel stoves, open fires and chimineas, and will burn just fine in combination with other fuels like wood, coal and briquettes.

4. Even the packaging is recyclable. Each bag of 16 Coffee Logs is made from strong, portable and recyclable paper (alternatively, it can be used as your firelighter).

5. They smell a little bit of coffee – but not too much. There’s a faint whiff as you open the bag, but most of it’s gone by the time the grounds have been processed, dried and compressed at our factory. And as much as we love a good coffee aroma, we think even the most dedicated coffee addicts might get fed up with their living room smelling like a Starbucks…

6. They’re made in Britain, from waste that’s created in Britain. Even the sawdust that’s added to the logs to help them bind is a waste product sourced near our factory in Cambridgeshire.

7. They leave hardly any ash residue, because they’re so full of energy – so there’s less mess to clean up in your woodburner or fireplace.

8. They’re carbon neutral. Coffee plants absorb CO2 as they grow, and use it to photosynthesise. As long as the world keeps consuming coffee (a habit we don’t see ending any time soon), the amount of emissions associated with burning Coffee Logs will always be absorbed by the next generation of coffee plants.

Image result for coffee plant

9. Even better, they’re a second-generation biofuel because they’re made of waste. Unlike first-generation biofuels (made from specially grown crops), second-gen biofuels don’t take up any land or contribute emissions associated with land-use change. Instead, they’re made of a waste destined for landfill – so it’s a double saving, environmentally speaking.

10. Last but by no means least: they’re good value for money. We think making the sustainable purchasing choice should also be logical and cost-effective, so you can get 16 logs for as little as £6.99 via our retail partners.

Do you agree with us (and Kevin McCloud) that Coffee Logs are wonderfuel? Let us know!


25 Oct 2017
Kevin McCloud Green Heroes

More recognition for Coffee Logs – the wonderful wonderfuel! 

In more positive news for bio-bean, Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud has named our wonderfuel, Coffee Logs one of his ‘Green Heroes’ at Grand Designs Live, thanks to our friends at Logs Direct who distribute for us in the north of England and exhibit with Coffee Logs at numerous trade shows. Kevin McCloud’s annual Green Heroes selection celebrates the best in sustainable homeware, and he says of Coffee Logs: “My Green Hero. Power your home with coffee fuel from bio-bean.”


This great news comes on the back of winning both Cafe Life’s Best New Product award, and the GIMA Innovators Seed Corn Fund last month.

And on Monday 16th October, Tricks of the Restaurant trade featured bio-bean and our wonderfuel Coffee Logs. For the episode, bio-bean founder Arthur spoke to presenter and TV chef Simon Rimmer about coffee pellets, the wonderfuel Coffee Logs and biodiesel. 

For anyone who missed it, you can watch it on 4OD . While the show is full of interesting insights into the restaurant industry, the best bit is right after the ad break from 12:30.