26 Feb 2019
Arch Climbing Wall

Arch Climbing Wall joins the coffee recycling revolution

The Arch Climbing Wall – a multi-centre indoor climbing mecca in London – has sustainability at the forefront of its agenda. Two of the sites run entirely on renewable energy! Plus, the centres use eco-friendly cleaning products throughout, and they recycle the scrap metal from route setting. So when Joe Partridge, Sustainability Coordinator at Arch Climbing Wall, contacted bio-bean to learn more about how their waste coffee grounds could be recycled into biofuels, we were only too happy to help!

Joe, owner of Arch Climbing WallOriginally, The Arch threw away the spent grounds from the coffees sold on site. It all went into the general waste bin and was sent to landfill, where the grounds release nasty levels of CO2e emissions. But feedback from internal team workshops created a focus on finding a more sustainable way to dispose of the grounds. The Arch team considered combining the grounds in food waste collections, where they would eventually find their way to anaerobic digestion… A step in the right direction, for sure, and a better alternative to landfill. But it was still a choice that produces 70% more emissions than if the grounds were recycled with bio-bean.

So Joe got in touch with us to chat about how one of their sites in Bermondsey could get involved with trialling the segregated coffee collections.

The Arch partners with bio-bean and First Mile

bio-bean first mile collection truck

The climbing wall’s location and monthly waste coffee volumes lent itself to collection from First Mile, one of our waste management partners. So The Arch and First Mile agreed a collections schedule and began kerb-side collections.

With collections running smoothly at Building One, it wasn’t long until Joe reached out to get the second site in Burnt Oak set up with coffee grounds collections – an easy win as First Mile covers this area as well.

First Mile now collects waste coffee grounds from all three of the Arch Climbing sites, ready to transport to our factory in Alconbury to be manufactured into Coffee Logs and biomass pellets.

Since they partnered with us in October 2018, Arch Climbing Wall have thus far prevented over 570kg of waste coffee grounds from ending up in landfill! We’ve processed this coffee into 53 bags of Coffee Logs, displacing over 0.27 tonnes of coal from being burnt and saving more than 0.25 tonnes of CO2e from being emitted into the atmosphere. This equates to the emissions saving effects of 158 trees, or a 3-acre forest!

Arch Climbing WallDue to their sustainability efforts, The Arch has been nominated for a Sustainability in Sport award at the Green Heart Hero Awards 2019. The awards are organised by the Climate Coalition to celebrate the people and companies paving the way to a cleaner future. So it’s great that coffee recycling has contributed towards the nomination!

A huge thank you to everyone over at The Arch Climbing Wall for their enthusiasm and dedication to recycling the coffee across the whole of the company. We look forward to continuing our relationship and wish them all the best with the Green Heart Hero award!

06 Feb 2019
bio-bean Veganuary Challenge

bio-bean goes vegan for a week

Could you adopt a vegan diet for one week?

 

Some may find that idea daft, some daunting, some daring, and some delectable. We set ourselves the challenge to give a vegan diet a try…

 

January is a time for fresh starts, and as 2019 rolled in the usual assortment of promises for New Year resolutions hit. Although set with great optimism, most of the resolutions set at bio-bean typically fall by the wayside quite quickly. However, with associated environmental, health, and animal welfare benefits, Veganuary piqued the interest of a fair few of us on the bio-bean team.

Veganuary is an organisation that began in 2014 to raise awareness and support for a vegan diet and lifestyle. It has since grown into a massive international movement. Over 225,000 people signed up in the first week of January alone!

Animal welfare aside, it turns out that a plant-based diet is not only good for your health, but it is “the single biggest way” to reduce our environmental impact on the earth, according to researchers at University of Oxford. Apparently “cutting meat and dairy products from your diet could reduce an individual’s carbon footprint from food by up to 73 per cent!” And Veganuary explains that by trying vegan you’ll save water, protect nature, reduce pollution and save wildlife.

So, we thought we’d give it a go. But rather than attempt the traditional and more challenging route of trying vegan for the entire month, our challenge was for one week only.

 

Enter the bio-bean Veganuary Challenge (entirely voluntary, of course) …

 

For the penultimate week of January, we chose to spend seven days and nights of eating only a plant-based menu.

“What on earth can I eat?!”, was the number one question going around the office before the challenge began. Cue our Marketing Manager, Jess, who shared a copy of the Veganuary Celebrity Cookbook to help with meal ideas. With tasty, easy recipes from the likes of Joaquin Phoenix, Beyonce, John Bishop, Joanna Lumley and even Pamela Anderson, we were all set for a well-fed week. Not to mention Google is full to the brim with delicious recipes in line with the vegan diet.

WhatsApp provided the perfect forum for us to share tips, tricks and recipes with one another. And we could send encouraging and supportive messages if anyone lost motivation.

It’s fair to say we each had varying success with the challenge. Fitting the diet in with family life was a stumbling block for some. Others had trouble simply remembering to choose the animal free products!

 

Read below for further details on how we got on …

 

“Veganuary was nowhere near as difficult as I feared it would be! I’m pretty lucky being based in our London office where there’s a plethora of food stalls, shops and cafes. There’s an array of delicious vegan food on offer. At home I ate a lot of soups and discovered just how nice homemade nut butters are as a substitute for real butter. I tried vegan wine and beer and really enjoyed those too.

I can’t say Veganuary was completely plain sailing, though. One day I brought what I thought was tomato and chickpea soup for lunch, but it turned out to be tomato and chicken soup. I had completely misread it!

The most memorable moment for me though (and sadly for many of my colleagues) is after indulging in a whole loaf of caramelised garlic bread chock-full of garlic cloves. I oozed eau de garlic for several days afterwards. Once again, apologies to my colleagues!

I enjoyed our vegan challenge and am going to try to stay with it. Or at least vegetarianism for the foreseeable.” – Pete, Chief Financial Officer

 

“Although I approached the idea with apprehension, I managed to keep to the challenge. I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed it! Vegan eating meant that I planned my meals more meticulously than before. This was fine when I had the time, but trickier when time was limited. I was surprised to learn how many products contain animal products (some beer and wine!) but quickly found alternatives. I feel a lot more aware of what I’m eating. While I won’t be making the transition to a full vegan diet, I am planning to phase out meat.” – Katherine, Business Development and Account Executive

 

“As a vegetarian who has also cut out dairy milk, it shouldn’t have been difficult for me to cut out eggs and cheese for one week. I thought this was going to be a cinch, but for me it was actually quite challenging. I was on the road for most of the week and reliant on food-to-go outlets. It was tough to make the sacrifices necessary. It gave me a renewed sympathy for vegans, though. They have fewer options when out and about.

I failed to make it through the full 7 days; I was only able to achieve 5. Honestly, I don’t see myself fully giving up cheese or eggs. I will, however, choose certified organic and free range where possible.” – Jessica, Marketing Manager

 

“I loved Vegan week as it made me try lots of delicious new recipes without any meat or dairy.  I also discovered new Vegan products like Ombar and Booja Booja chocolate that taste better than the non-vegan options!  It made me realise that it is possible to have a really interesting and varied diet without meat or dairy.  I would find it very hard to be a strict vegan all the time given how many foods have traces of animal products. But I think I’ll eat much less meat and dairy from now on.” – Barbara, Chief Legal and Corporate Services Officer

 

So a total vegan lifestyle may not be the lasting result for those who tried. But approaching the challenge in a fun, supportive way proved enough for some of us to make considerable changes to our diets. Who knows, maybe next year we’ll tackle Veganuary for the whole month!

11 Oct 2018

On the road…

One of the best parts of working in the food waste industry is getting to go to cool food-themed events. Over the last couple of weeks our supply chain team – Julia and Katherine – have been to the Lunch! exhibition, huggg’s London launch party and the University of Birmingham, touching base with our existing coffee recycling partners and beginning conversations with new ones…

Lunch! – 19-20th September

Lunch! is the show that brings together the entire food-to-go industry under one roof. It was the perfect place to hear from leading industry speakers and provided the opportunity for invaluable networking. We saw lots of familiar faces as we met with many of our coffee recycling partners – the likes of Costa Coffee, Pret a Manger, Leon, Greggs, Small Batch Coffee Roasters, Boston Tea Party, FITCH Brew, Far Side and True Start!

huggg – 4th October – To celebrate their London launch, food-gifting app huggg threw a glittery, fun-filled launch party at Campus London. The huggg app allows you to easily send a ‘huggg’ – a gift of food or drink – to friends you think deserve it. We heard from their CEO Paul Wickers about how the idea of huggg came about and future plans for the company, as well as comedy from Imogen Rogers and donuts from Crosstowns to sustain us. Why not try it – download the app and make someone’s day!

University of Birmingham: Live Well Be Safe – 4th October. We’ve been recycling used coffee grounds from the University of Birmingham since May 2017, so we were delighted to join them on campus for their busy ‘Live Well, Be Safe’ event last week. A collaborative event organised by the Security Services, Sustainable Travel, Student Services and the Guild of Students, it aimed to provide advice and information to the university community on the themes of safety, sustainability and wellbeing. It was great to have so much interest from students and staff alike!

 

By Katherine Murphy, Business Development & Account Executive

14 Sep 2018

September trade shows

It’s been a busy few weeks for our sales and feedstock teams, exhibiting at three trade shows between Cologne and Birmingham, and covering both sides of our business: growing our supply chain to bring more coffee in, and growing our retailer base to sell Coffee Logs.

spoga+gafa in Cologne, Germany represented Coffee Logs’ first venture into the European market. From 2-4 September George, Matt, Xavier and Richard, our distributor for the Netherlands, spent the days talking Coffee Logs with garden retail buyers from all over Europe, and the evenings enjoying the sights of beautiful city of Cologne.

L-R: Xavier, Matt, Richard and George

Last September we exhibited at both Glee Birmingham, the UK’s biggest garden trade event, and RWM the resource and waste management show, and this year we were lucky enough to be able to repeat the experience. So last week we made our way to the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) for the second year in a row.

Thanks to winning the GIMA Innovators Seed Corn Fund at Glee 2017, we were able to avail of a bigger stand at this year’s Glee. On Day 1 our colleague Matt managed to chat to BBC’s Garden Rescue presenter Charlie Dimmock, and later was interviewed by Agents of Field, award-winning garden and food bloggers (watch the interview here) and over the course of the three days we met with many buyers from the UK’s garden retail sector.

Xavier and Steph on the stand at Glee
Too much coffee perhaps?

A few halls down, courtesy of Innovate UK, one of our key supporters, we had a stand in the Innovation City zone at RWM. Our supply chain team was kept super busy at our stand, and whenever we got a minute we went to see some fascinating talks – like innovative new recycling systems tackling the problem of plastic waste, and Costa’s coffee cup returns scheme. On Thursday our national supply chain manager Julia spoke to a packed theatre about our own coffee recycling and biofuels manufacturing processes.

Julia describes how bio-bean’s business model is an example of the circular economy

It was a great pleasure to network with existing and potential coffee collection partners, and it was heartening to see how many people were enthused by what we at bio-bean are trying to do. We came away with many exciting prospects for the business – huge thanks to everyone who came to see us!

 

And now…

We’re taking a little break from the road and focusing on Coffee Logs production ahead of what’s anticipated to be a very busy autumn and winter season. To stay updated on bio-bean on the road and at home, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram.

 

13 Sep 2018

Coffee Logs refreshed packaging

We have always taken pride in how different Coffee Logs are compared to other fuel products. And the same applies to the packaging: Coffee Logs’ kraft paper and orange design stand out next to bags of coal and wood briquettes, while the PEFC certified, recyclable paper makes the bag as environmentally sustainable as the eco logs it contains.

However, having identified the need for some informational updates to the bag, earlier this year we commissioned the talented design agency Marmalade London to give our packaging a refresh. Marmalade had come up with the original design back in 2016:

The brief for the new look was to keep the kraft paper, distinctive orange stripe and logo from the original bag, but evolve the design to incorporate new visuals and iconography that would clearly communicate the product’s function and benefits.

The result: In the new design, Marmalade added an elegant flame containing the Coffee Logs logo, three icons that convey the benefits of Coffee Logs over other fuel products, black handles to match the logo, and a smart new typeface to explain the bio-bean story on the back and sides.

The upgraded Coffee Logs bag will soon hit the shelves of garden centres and supermarkets near you!

A look back…

As Coffee Logs approach their third winter season, we take a look at the evolution of these unique fuel briquettes, from concept in 2015 to best-selling fuel product in 2018…

Plain paper bags with stickers were used to send out the first samples of Coffee Logs to retailers.

 

In the early days of briquette production, bags were stitched by hand.

 

Coffee Logs were initially unwaxed, until we learned that adding a wax coating both makes them easier to both handle and ignite.

And today…

Coffee Logs 2018 edition – now with refreshed packaging and more durable, wax-coated logs that each burn for up to an hour. For more information and to find out where you can purchase Coffee Logs, click here.

10 Sep 2018

bio-bean according to our newest team member

By Katherine Murphy, Business Development and Account Executive

As a recent biological sciences graduate looking for a new opportunity, I came across bio-bean and was intrigued by the idea of creating new resources from coffee waste. So when an opportunity arose to work within the Feedstock team, I jumped at the chance. This is how I got on in my first couple of months at bio-bean…

When I arrived at bio-bean’s brand new offices in Aldgate, I received a warm welcome by the team, including Louie the office dog! And at true bio-bean pace, less than 24 hours later I was at my first event. Since then my calendar has been scattered with site visits, industry events and client meetings, each giving their own insight and different perspective to bio-bean and the industries in which it operates.

For anyone unfamiliar with the waste management and sustainability industries, as I was, both are areas where there is much to learn – and there can be a certain degree of confusion at first. I quickly discovered that MRF (pronounced Murph) isn’t just an abbreviation of my surname but also an acronym from Material Recovery Facility, and that RORO isn’t just a line from a popular children’s nursery rhyme but another acronym, this time for Roll On Roll Off skip.  

During my second week it was time to visit the factory at Alconbury. My lasting memory from my interview at Alconbury had been the humongous pile of waste coffee, ready to be processed once the factory was up and running. The site has continued to transform with every visit to Alconbury since then, with new machinery, modifications and pallets of Coffee Logs ready for shipping emerging each time. 

Holding various factory tours for our indispensable (pardon the pun!) waste management partners has been a great way to meet those helping us grow the coffee pile. It’s also useful way to keep track of site progressions from our site manager. 

 

I’ve also had the chance to meet providers of the all-important waste coffee grounds: the businesses that produce large volumes of coffee waste on their premises and send it to us for recycling. It’s the perfect opportunity to learn about collection from their perspective, hearing about their expectations and any reservations they may have. It’s been a pleasure meeting so many people who are so enthusiastic about recycling their coffee, and helps us learn how we can tweak our services to meet our customers’ requirements. 

Meanwhile, I’ve been attending events from industry pioneers like YFood and Cupclub. Combining these with learning how we use waste coffee at bio-bean, has really sparked my enthusiasm for working in a fast paced, innovative business that works hard to change practises for the benefit of the environment.

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

bio-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.

 

PRESS RELEASE

 

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.”

 

 

NOTES

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.

http://www.roadchef.com/

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.

www.bio-bean.com

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.

www.olleco.co.uk