Costa Coffee Costa bio-bean Case Study

Costa Coffee began sending their waste coffee grounds to bio-bean in June 2016, and bio-bean now collects 3000 tonnes of waste coffee grounds a year from over 800 Costa sites across the country. Prior to this, Costa used to send its waste coffee grounds to anaerobic digesters. However, sending waste coffee grounds to bio-bean produces 30% less emissions than anaerobic digestion, and by working with bio-bean Costa has helped prevent 360 tonnes of CO2e from entering the atmosphere, every year. This is the equivalent of planting a forest the size of 95 football pitches.

“This partnership will put thousands of tonnes of Costa coffee grounds to work, transforming them from a waste material into sustainable, clean fuels which can heat homes this winter… we have worked hard to cut carbon emissions and minimise waste, but it is fantastic to move bio-bean forward on their ambition to power cities with coffee.” Oliver Rosevear, Costa Coffee Energy and Environment Manager

The Møller Centre

The Møller Centre is a leadership development and conferencing centre at Churchill College in the University of Cambridge. The team is dedicated to environmental protection, disposing of all unavoidable waste in the most sustainable way possible with an eventual aim of zero waste to landfill.

The Centre used to dispose of coffee grounds with food waste, but having discovered that bio-bean produces 70% less emissions than anaerobic digestion, they began recycling coffee waste in January 2018. Coffee grounds are collected from the coffee machines and deposited in caddies, then emptied into a larger bin which is collected on a monthly basis by Mick George.

With over 150,000 cups of coffee drunk at the Møller Centre every year, recycling coffee creates a significant carbon saving and helps the Centre meet its sustainability targets. “We feel it is our responsibility to conserve the environment to the best of our ability for future generations, and coffee grounds recycling is a good practical example of this,” says Mark Campbell, Operations Manager at the Møller Centre.

University of Birmingham

The University of Birmingham was one of our first clients outside of London to sign up to coffee recycling. The University has a comprehensive sustainability agenda, meaning that recycling was the ideal waste disposal solution for the 21 tonnes of used coffee grounds produced annually from the 30+ sites across campus.

At the end of every day, used coffee grounds are bagged up at each of the café outlets across campus. The following morning, after dropping off goods deliveries, drivers collect these bags of coffee waste and bring it to a central point on site. Here, waste management providers First Mile make their weekly collection. This ‘backhauling’ model minimises empty vehicles on the road and thereby keeps CO2 emissions as low as possible. The University has been recycling all of its coffee waste since May 2017, diverting 21 tonnes of used coffee grounds away from landfill every year.

Network Rail

Network Rail was one of bio-bean’s first major partnerships. Thousands of passengers pass through their train stations every day, producing hundreds of tonnes of waste coffee a year. Previously, Network Rail were paying waste management companies to send this waste to landfill, where it would decompose and release methane gas.

In February 2015 and in partnership with Biffa, bio-bean began collecting the waste coffee produced by all the coffee shops and retail sites in six of London’s busiest train stations, via skips operated by our waste management partners. This has amounted to over 10 million cups of coffee, with 868 tonnes of coffee collected and recycled by bio-bean. By working with bio-bean, Network Rail has saved £34,000 on their waste disposal costs while bio-bean has been able to divert waste from landfill and produce cheap, carbon-neutral biofuels – a win-win for all involved.  

Petersham Nurseries

Petersham Nurseries first approached bio-bean having been referred to us by the Sustainable Restaurant Association. Their teahouse and glasshouse restaurant produce around one and a half tonnes of waste coffee grounds a year and they wanted to recycle these grounds with bio-bean – but we quickly realised we could go one step further.

bio-bean now works with Paper Round to collect Petersham Nurseries’ waste coffee grounds and recycle them into Coffee Logs. This high-performance winter fuel burns hotter and longer than wood and is proudly stocked in Petersham Nurseries’ Garden Shop – giving their recycled waste coffee grounds a useful second life.

This initiative helped Petersham Nurseries reduce their waste disposal costs and create a second profitable product from the coffee sold in their teahouse and restaurant. Petersham Nurseries’ customers can now buy delicious coffee and a great fuel made from its waste!

This scheme is a great example of what’s known as the ‘Circular Economy’ in action. By creating ‘closed loops’ like the one at Petersham Nurseries, bio-bean can help businesses, consumers and the environment.

Arch Climbing Wall

The Arch Climbing Wall offers indoor climbing across three locations in London. The team is dedicated to sustainability and wanted to add coffee recycling to their efforts.

A trial in their Bermondsey site began with our waste management partner First Mile. Coffee grounds were collected in bag-lined caddies, with the bags left out ready for kerbside collection at a frequency that suited the needs of the business.

The success of the trial led to segregated coffee collections being set up, again with First Mile, at the Burnt Oak location and then organised ready for the opening of their third and final site in Acton. All coffee grounds produced across the business are now recycled with us with the help of First Mile.

“For me, the most important part of our sustainability initiative, is the way that it started. Using a series of workshops enabled us to build something which everybody felt they were a part of, so were immediately engaged with what we were doing. Everything is going very smoothly with the coffee grounds recycling, and we are so happy to have found such a good solution for our coffee waste!” Joe Partridge, Sustainability Coordinator at The Arch Climbing Wall.

Kahaila Café

Kahaila Café is a small, independent “coffee shop with a conscience” on Brick Lane in London’s East End. Working in partnership with waste management company First Mile, bio-bean began collecting their waste coffee grounds in specially provided bin bags in February 2016.

In their first year they filled over 400 of these bags, amounting to two tonnes of waste coffee grounds. This simple kerbside collection routine couldn’t have been easier to implement and requires almost no change on the baristas’ part – they simply keep their waste coffee separate in the bags provided by First Mile.

Recycling waste coffee grounds saves Kahaila money on waste collection and reduces their carbon footprint, which fits perfectly with their ethically-minded approach to business.

Eversheds Sutherland

Eversheds Sutherland is a large law firm in the heart of the City of London. Its 800 employees drink around 12,500 cups of coffee a month, creating around 500kg of waste coffee grounds. Eversheds Sutherland realised it could reduce its waste collection costs and still help the environment by sending waste coffee grounds to bio-bean. After setting up waste coffee collection with First Mile, the weight of the food waste was brought down by six tonnes a year.

Since bio-bean does not charge a gate fee for this waste, bio-bean’s service has reduced both the firm’s costs and carbon footprint significantly.


In 2016, Vacherin became the first contract catering company in the UK to send zero waste to landfill. An important aspect of their strategy is to ensure every type of waste goes to the most sustainable end-of-life solution. That’s why they send their food waste for anaerobic digestion, and their coffee waste is sent to bio-bean, working with waste management partners Bywaters and Paper Round.

In 2016/17 Vacherin recycled 5,028 kg of waste coffee from their sites, roughly equivalent to a quarter of a million cups of coffee. This partnership with bio-bean has cut Vacherin’s waste collection costs and affirms their reputation as one of the most sustainable catering businesses in the UK.

To begin recycling your waste coffee grounds with bio-bean, email