Category: Journal

21 Feb 2017
Canary Wharf Press Release

Canary Wharf creates Clean Coffee Zone with bio-bean

This month marks the start of the world’s first Clean Coffee Zone on the Canary Wharf Estate. As part of this scheme, bio-bean will collect the waste coffee grounds produced by the 900,000 people who visit the site each week.

bio-bean works with waste management company, Cawley’s, who collect waste coffee grounds from the 300 coffee shops, bars and restaurants on the estate. This is then compacted and sent on to bio-bean’s pioneering factory near Cambridge.

Our CEO and founder, Arthur Kay, said – “This exciting new partnership means the waste grounds from the coffee that warms the visitors to Canary Wharf in the morning could soon be heating their home in the evenings – all while helping London reduce its carbon footprint.”

bio-bean expects this latest partnership to yield another 300 tonnes of waste coffee grounds a year, which will be processed into biochemicals and high performance biofuels like our new Coffee Logs.

20 Feb 2017
planet earth with headphones on

Podcast Recommendations

I’m obsessed with podcasts. They are the perfect distraction from tedious tasks like the morning rush hour commute on the tube.

So I thought I’d recommend a few podcasts relating to the the work we do here at bio-bean, the environment, and sustainability.

The Circulate Podcast
Made by the team at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, these guys are the experts on the Circular Economy and can always come up with fascinating insights and examples.
Episode: Cities as flows in the Circular Economy

edie’s Sustainable Business Covered
edie is one of the biggest sustainability news sites out there so they’re able to get some big names on their podcast.
Episode: Britain’s great green policy progressives – featuring Sadiq Khan and ClientEarth CEO, James Thornton

Their silliness might get slightly on your nerves but if you like that sort of thing they can be a laugh. ‘Inhofe of the Week’ is a great feature, inspired by the ridiculous US Senator.
Episode: Babies – featuring Business Green Editor-in-Chief, James Murray.

These guys are brilliant at constructing a compelling narrative and have some of the best sound design in the business.
Episode: Galapagos

BBC Podcasts
These podcasts are fantastically well researched and occasionally feature climate/sustainability topics.
BBC Analysis – How did we save the Ozone Layer? 
The Inquiry – Can we eat our way out of climate change?
The Documentary – Africa’s Ivory Dilemma

New Economics Foundation’s Weekly Economics Podcast
From one of the most interesting think tanks in the UK at the moment, this episode is part of their series written in response to the Brexit vote.
Episode: Really take control: Environment
Well, that’s my list. Happy listening, and leave a comment if you’ve come across any others.


By Charlie Thorneycroft, Policy Analyst

10 Feb 2017
Caffè Nero Press Release

bio-bean teams up with Caffè Nero

bio-bean has teamed up with another highstreet coffee giant – Caffè Nero – to recycle 218 tonnes of waste coffee grounds a year into advanced biofuels – such as our Coffee Logs.

“We are always looking at ways to improve our recycling so we are very excited to be working with First Mile and bio-bean on this initiative and will seek to extend it beyond Greater London,” said Caffè Nero’s commercial director Matt Spencer.

bio-bean works with waste management company First Mile to provide Nero’s baristas with special recycling sacks, meaning it couldn’t be easier to keep the waste coffee grounds separate from the rest of the waste stream.

First Mile’s chief commercial officer Joe Allen said: “This service marks another step in our ambition to create a world where you can recycle everything. Waste coffee grounds would previously go to incineration or landfill, and it is fantastic to see Caffè Nero embrace this new initiative and start recycling a significant amount of waste coffee. We look forward to supporting a wider roll-out and working with Caffè Nero on other recycling challenges.”

29 Dec 2016
bio bean team at the factory

Grounds for optimism in 2017

It’s been a fantastic 2016 here at bio-bean. In the last twelve months we’ve launched our second product – Coffee Logs – grown our amazing team to over 40 people, raised millions more in funding and taken the bio-bean story global, with millions of views of videos and articles online. We have continued to build and establish valuable relationships with waste coffee grounds suppliers all over London – including chains such as Costa and LEON and begun trials with new waste management companies Biffa and Olleco.

2016 has also been a year of turbulence in our climate and politics.

This year saw the concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere pass the symbolic threshold of 400 parts per million, and 2016 looks all but certain to be the hottest year on record – at 1.2ºC warmer than pre-industrial levels. These temperature changes have been linked to the severe weather we have been witnessing lately, such as the freak conditions in the Arctic that saw temperatures 33ºC above average and the latest storm, Barbara, hitting the UK over Christmas.

While climate change is beginning to have a discernible impact on our weather and economy, the UK has so far struggled to come up with a coherent policy framework to deal with this issue. The UK dropped to 14th place in EY’s Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index, down from 8th place in June 2015. The report cites the uncertainty over Brexit and the closure of the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) as reasons for this fall in confidence. The Committee on Energy and Climate Change blamed the “sudden and numerous policy announcements that [have] marred the UK’s reputation for stable and predictable policy development” such as changes to the Feed-in-Tariff and Renewable Heat Incentive.

On the other hand, it’s remarkable how far the Green Economy has come despite these setbacks and there are many reasons to look ahead with optimism to what’s to come in the New Year.

The fossil fuel divestment movement has become the fastest growing divestment movement in history, doubling in the last fifteen months and now totalling over $5tn – even against a backdrop of sluggish economic growth and political turmoil.

Some argue that Brexit and the closure of DECC will distract from climate change and relegate these issues down the list of national priorities. However, it also suggests that energy and climate policies are now an inherent part of our new industrial strategy, managed by BEIS in response to Brexit. There are now significant opportunities for green growth under the recently announced National Productivity Investment Fund as part of this new industrial strategy.

Brexit also presents an opportunity for the Circular Economy. As the pound falls and commodity and import prices rise, it becomes more attractive to make the most of the ‘waste’ resources already available here in the UK. The election of climate change skeptic Donald Trump was met with outrage by many in the environmental movement, but there are many reasons to believe that he won’t be as damaging as many of these commentators fear. The technological progress that has made natural gas and wind energy cost-competitive with coal is unlikely to be reversed.

Instead, in 2017 we hope we’ll see more companies like bio-bean striving to make the sustainable choice the logical choice – by creating great products that outperform the competition, save families and businesses money and help the environment at the same time.

Happy New Year.

22 Dec 2016
Green Southwark Tube sign

Southwark Council joins the growing fossil fuel divestment movement

It’s great to hear that Southwark Council will be joining the fastest growing divestment movement in history. The £1.2bn Southwark pension fund is now the largest fund in the UK to end all its investments in fossil fuels as news emerges that the wider movement now totals $5.2tn, having doubled in the last fifteen months.

What’s remarkable is not only the speed of this movement but the context in which it has occurred. The fact that it has taken place against the backdrop of sluggish economic growth and the political turmoil of the last few years, suggests that this movement is no longer simply a typical divestment campaign based only on ethical concerns – but now represents a genuine commercial movement based on mitigating the financial risks of investing in assets that are gradually becoming more and more toxic.

Southwark Council will now begin gradually shifting their investments away from fossil fuels and are exploring new opportunities to invest in the development of sustainable energy infrastructure via the London CIV. In 2017, we expect to see many more organisations join the fastest growing divestment movement in history.

20 Dec 2016
Costa press release

New partnership with Costa Coffee

Towards the end of this year, bio-bean began a nationwide partnership with Costa Coffee to collect and recycle 3000 tonnes of waste coffee a year from over 800 of their cafés. This amounts to over 75 million cups of coffee a year.

Costa Coffee energy and environment manager Oliver Rosevear said: “This partnership will put thousands of tonnes of Costa coffee grounds to work, transforming them from a waste material into sustainable, clean fuels.”

He explained that the partnership with bio-bean will deliver “significant cost reductions” in Costa’s waste disposal process, as sending the coffee to bio-bean is cheaper than using alternative waste disposal methods such as incinerators or anaerobic digestion plants.

“Historically we have always managed our waste grounds with our food waste, which goes to anaerobic digestion,” he said. “That’s a good start, but we always looked at coffee grounds as being a slightly more valuable material.”

The partnership applies only to stores Costa owns and manages itself, although Rosevear added the firm is “already in discussion” with its network of franchisees and other partners to join.

This deal represents a significant scaling up of bio-bean’s waste collections, sending more feedstock to our factory in Cambridgeshire, which can handle up to 50,000 tonnes of waste coffee grounds every year.

Our CEO and founder, Arthur Kay is now calling for cooperation with other UK businesses that produce coffee waste to embrace our circular economy solution.

“This technology will save Costa thousands of pounds and reduce emissions – and where Costa have led we hope other companies can follow,” Kay said. “We want to work with every other UK business producing waste coffee grounds to save them money whilst cutting their carbon-footprint”.