Category: Journal

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!


16 Sep 2017
Team holding award at Glee 2017

Trade shows

This week the bio-bean team has been at the NEC Birmingham for two major trade shows: GLEE garden retail show and RWM (Resource and Waste Management). For bio-bean these shows represented the two sides of the business: coffee in, and wonderfuel out.

GLEE took up four of the NEC’s cavernous halls and was filled with an enormous range of products and no shortage of curious garden characters (our favourite – or at least the most bizarre – was a 25-foot metal giraffe) – and we were there to grow our catalogue of Coffee Logs retailers throughout the UK. Matt, Kyle, Pippa and Jacqui manned our Coffee Logs stand in the Innovators Zone on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, speaking to buyers from independent garden centres and chain stores about stocking our amazing winter fuel made from waste coffee grounds.

On Monday we were presented with our award from the Garden Industry Manufacturers Association (GIMA). Their fantastic Innovators Seed Corn Fund provides funding and support to help break into the garden retail market. Thanks to this we’ve already booked our spot at next year’s Glee!

Coffee Logs – our eco wonderfuel for stoves, fires and chimineas – were also a finalist in the New Product Showcase, proving that ours is an ideal product for garden centres and farm shops. Also at the stand we showed our brand new Coffee Logs film and gave away a bottle of Kahlua in a draw – the lucky winners were fellow exhibitors Silverback.

To stock Coffee Logs, email

Our presence at RWM meanwhile was courtesy of the Department for International Trade (DIT) Supported Exhibitor package. It was a fantastic opportunity for bio-bean to meet with fellow members of the waste management, logistics and recycling community with a view to bringing even more waste coffee grounds to our factory in Cambridgeshire to be recycled into biofuels.

Between Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday team members George, Julia, Chris and Alina were kept busy with meetings with prospective coffee recycling partners, while our CCO George was a panellist in an event on smart cities alongside Dylan Thomas from the DIT and others.

To enquire about waste coffee collection, email

The success of this week was down to the hard work of all the team, and proved how invaluable it is for startups like bio-bean to exhibit. It brings us into direct contact with people and companies that we can work with, and sets the foundations for future partnerships and collaboration.

We’ll be back – follow us on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn to stay tuned.

29 Aug 2017
coffee making process

The journey from barista knock box to Alconbury factory

We are often asked how waste coffee grounds make their way from the bottom of a coffee machine to our factory in Alconbury Weald, Cambridgeshire – and the distances covered by our collection routes often surprise people.

We have long-standing coffee waste collections from London’s busiest Network Rail train stations and collect from Costa cafes nationally; and over the last several years we’ve established a network for waste coffee collection from all around London. But recent expansions have seen waste coffee from as far and wide as the Flour Pot Bakery in Brighton, the University of Birmingham, and even Manchester Airport arrive at our factory in Alconbury for processing.

So how is it done?

Wherever possible, we use vehicles that are already on the road – which minimises waste mileage, optimises existing transport routes and hubs, and stays true to bio-bean’s sustainability mission.

One example is Greggs. Greggs delivers products from its distribution centre in Kettering to its centre in Enfield every day. This delivery vehicle used to be empty as it made its way back to Kettering to reload.

But now, this vehicle drops off hundreds of buckets of waste coffee grounds, collected from Greggs sites, at our factory along the return journey back to Kettering. This is known as backhauling waste and in this way, bio-bean receives tonnes of coffee waste daily, while Greggs avoids having an empty vehicle driving on the roads.

Businesses can also make their own arrangements to transport their waste coffee to bio-bean.

New friends of bio-bean, Leeds-based Fitch Brew Co got in touch after realising they produce over half a tonne of waste coffee grounds every month as part of their cold brewing process. They were reluctant to see the coffee sent to general or food waste, and they now transport their coffee waste every month in bulk bags to bio-bean’s factory.

We are able to arrange waste coffee collection from more and more locations, by means of a number of different transportation methods. So if you’re curious about whether you could be sending us your waste coffee grounds, saving money and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, get in touch and we’ll do our very best to set it up.


By Julia Porter, Senior Account Manager

29 Jun 2017
business green leaders awards 2017

Arthur Kay wins Entrepreneur of the Year at the 2017 BusinessGreen Leaders Awards

bio-bean CEO and founder Arthur Kay was thrilled to be named Entrepreneur of the Year at the the 10th anniversary of the esteemed BusinessGreen Leaders Awards last night, while our partnership with Network Rail was Highly Commended.

In 2013 while still an architecture student, Arthur saw the potential in waste coffee grounds as a feedstock for biofuels. Since then he has developed this idea into a 40-strong company that provides an industrial-scale solution to the problem of coffee waste while reducing carbon emissions, saving businesses money, and displacing conventional fuels.

Winning this prestigious award recognises Arthur’s significant achievements over the last four years, and the team at bio-bean offer him hearty congratulations.

BusinessGreen said:

“In one of our most competitive categories Arthur Kay won over the judges for the emergence of bio-bean as one of the most exciting green start-ups in the UK today. Kay has single-mindedly pursued a vision to turn waste into sustainable fuel and has developed a successful and increasingly high profile business with hugely impressive green credentials in the process.”

Network Rail and bio-bean – bio-bean’s coffee recycling partnership with Network Rail was Highly Commended in the Circular Economy Project of the Year category. Network Rail is one of bio-bean’s longest-standing coffee suppliers, with 100s of tonnes of spent coffee grounds from railway stations all over London arriving at our Alconbury factory every year.


A panel of distinguished environmental leaders including InnovateUK, Green Alliance, Aldersgate Group and ClientEarth chose the winners, recognising clean technology companies and sustainable business models that are driving the green economy throughout the UK and Europe.

Other winners included former executive secretary to the UNFCCC Christiana Figueres, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, IKEA and Carbon Tracker Initiative.

Congratulations Arthur, and well done to the bio-bean team members who have worked closely with Network Rail!

13 Jun 2017
Coffee logs in a shop

New Coffee Logs retail partnerships

We’re delighted to announce that thanks to our sales team’s hard work over recent months, some leading retail chains have begun stocking Coffee Logs – our wonderfuel for stoves, fires and chimineas – in their stores.

You can now find the wonderfuel Coffee Logs for sale at selected Whole Foods and Blue Diamond outlets, as well as online at Abel & Cole, Crocus and Logs Direct.

We also have a number of other major retailers in the pipeline, so it’s set to be even easier to pick up a bag from your local store.

Meanwhile the number of independent garden centres and farm shops stocking Coffee Logs continues to grow, and some have come up with great ideas to promote our product. In this example, Poplars Garden Centre in Dunstable offers a free coffee with your bag of Coffee Logs!

To find your nearest Coffee Logs stockist please visit our Coffee Logs page, or to stock our product email

01 Jun 2017
Team and Shell at make the future 2017

bio-bean at Make the Future festival 2017

Last week bio-bean took part in Shell’s Make the Future festival of ideas and innovation at the Olympic Park, London.

Coinciding with an incredible late May heatwave it was a smashing success, with visitors coming to hear from inspirational clean energy entrepreneurs, try out unusual methods of energy generation, and catch the Eco Marathon featuring energy-efficient cars built by university teams from around the world.

bio-bean founder and CEO Arthur Kay, a Shell LiveWire UK alumnus, joined entrepreneurs’ panel events…

… talked about using Coffee Logs with renowned French chef Ludo Lefebvre

… and spoke to The Gadget Show’s Jason Bradbury and Richard Ayoade of The IT Crowd about bio-bean’s work, along with policy experts Tony Juniper and Kelsey Lynn Skinner, and fellow entrepreneurs Moya Power and GrowUp Urban Farms. The panel will be turned into an Intelligence Squared podcast – watch this space.


Meanwhile, visitors to the bio-bean barbecue installation saw Coffee Logs in action!


Image credit: Shell #makethefuture

16 May 2017
tower at the University of Birmingham

bio-bean launches waste coffee collection in Birmingham

In the first expansion of its collection route outside of London, bio-bean’s collection and recycling services are now available to coffee shops, office blocks and other businesses that produce coffee waste all over Birmingham. bio-bean has already begun recycling spent coffee grounds from catering outlets across the University of Birmingham campus with waste management company First Mile.

Working with bio-bean saves businesses money on waste disposal fees, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions through diverting waste from landfill. The spent coffee grounds will be taken to our world-first coffee recycling facility in Cambridgeshire and will be processed into innovative, sustainable biofuels like Coffee Logs, which save more emissions by displacing conventional fossil fuels.

Our founder and CEO Arthur Kay said – “I’m thrilled that we have begun recycling waste coffee from Birmingham – we can now help hundreds more businesses save money and cut their CO2 emissions. We’re keen to get recycling coffee grounds from all of Birmingham’s coffee shops, restaurants and offices, so if you would like to join our coffee collection route, visit our website at”

Stuart Richards, Director of Hospitality and Accommodation Services, University of Birmingham, said – “With more than 40,000 staff and students based on our campus in Edgbaston we anticipate that around 22 tonnes of coffee grounds are produced each year, so it is great to be able to work in partnership with companies like bio-bean and First Mile to maximise the use of our waste resources and support our Carbon Management Plan. This relationship will further promote jobs, skills and innovation in the West Midlands and we are very excited to be the first university to partner with them.”

Birmingham-based businesses interested in joining the collection route should visit our Collection page.

11 Apr 2017
Glowing bio-pellets

Decarbonising Growth

The latest report by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) has fundamentally undermined the last remaining vestiges of the climate sceptic’s argument. To all intents and purposes, we’ve proved the planet is warming, we’ve proved it’s caused by human activity and now we’ve finally demonstrated that avoiding this crisis doesn’t have to come at the cost of economic growth.

In other words – it’s possible to decouple economic growth from CO2 emissions and the UK is leading the way.

The ECIU report investigates the correlation between per capita GDP growth and CO2 emissions in the G7 countries since they signed the UN climate convention in 1992.

Since then, all seven countries have seen impressive per capita GDP growth with even the slowest, Japan, growing by more than 80%. Traditionally it was assumed that his would inevitably lead to more emissions, yet five of the G7 nations have successfully cut their per capita CO2 emissions over the same period.G7 GDP

The UK has led the way in both respects as our GDP per capita grew by 130% while per capita greenhouse gas emissions fell by 33%. As a result, the UK’s carbon intensity – the amount of CO2 it takes to produce one unit of GDP – is the best of all G7 countries, falling by 53% over the period.

Per capita CO2 emissions - 1992 - 2014

This news comes as no surprise here at bio-bean. We are founded on the principle that the sustainable choice is the logical choice – that reducing waste and CO2 emissions presents enormous economic opportunities.

That’s why we’re saving businesses money on their waste collection costs while reducing their carbon footprint. That’s why our Coffee Logs are more sustainable while being better value than many traditional alternatives.

We are extremely proud of the role the UK is playing in the race to decarbonise our economy and are determined to what we can to further decouple economic growth from environmental impact.