bio-bean: 2020 in review - bio-bean
bio-bean coffee recycling facility


17th December 2020

bio-bean: 2020 in review

It should go without saying that 2020 has been a challenging year in numerous ways, and many of us are quite happy to see the back of it. With the coronavirus pandemic affecting individuals, businesses, organisations, and governments across the globe, there have been unprecedented difficulties experienced by all. But there were also some standout moments. And as the end of the year is a time for reflection, we thought we’d share some of our 2020 highlights at bio-bean that we’re proud of.


We had a strong start to the year when, back in January, CNN came to our factory to film for their Global Energy Challenge series. The series explored how the planet can move forward towards clean energy while fulfilling the demands of a growing, global population.

Their focus on bio-bean was for one of the series’ energy conundrum segments, looking at science and engineering solutions to the energy transition. It was great to be recognised globally for our work in recycling spent coffee grounds into solid biofuels.

In case you missed it, you can watch the video here.


Come February, we found ourselves at Insider’s Made in Central & East England Awards 2020. This event celebrated the region’s manufacturing prowess, and we were delighted to win the Food & Drink Award for our high-quality natural flavours extracted from spent coffee grounds. This was a proud moment for us, having only recently launched our first flavour product, NUF-A.

To find out more about our sustainable, natural flavours from spent coffee grounds, head to bio-bean Naturals on our website.


With rising COVID cases and much of the world heading into lockdown, including the UK, we sent our office-based staff home. Despite the shutdown of businesses nationwide, we continued to receive spent coffee from several of our recycling clients, and classed as key workers, our factory team continued operations amidst new and strict health and safety measures.


In August, a few members of our team had their well-deserved moment in the spotlight when bio-bean featured in Channel 5’s Episode 2 of The Secret World of Your Rubbish. The segment highlighted our factory operations and engineering teams, following them through a day-in-the-life at our coffee recycling plant in Cambridgeshire, and walking viewers through how we make our eco-friendly fire logs known as Coffee Logs.

You can catch up on the episode on the Channel 5 website.


October was a big month for us. Off the back of our factory team breaking records on logs production in September, we kicked off the campaign for our current season of Coffee Logs sales. With everyone spending more time at home this winter, Coffee Logs are the perfect fuel for snuggling in, sustainably, next to a warm and glowing fire.

We then saw the release of a film showcasing our story of innovation and ingenuity in helping to create a circular bioeconomy. The film’s purpose is to garner support for the Sustainable Markets Initiative, which aims to lead on and accelerate a global transition to a greener, more sustainable future. Launched by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales back in January, the initiative calls for greater collaboration to scale up solutions for a ‘blue-green’ recovery, putting nature, people and planet at the heart of the economy.

In case you missed it, you can watch the full film here.

And to close out October with one of our most exciting achievements of the year, we officially became a Certified B Corporation™. Pete Griffiths and George May, our Executive Directors, said this about our new status:

B Corp recognises businesses that are working to bring about change and operate in a way that seeks to benefit the wider community, whilst it also provides a framework for continuous improvement. For us, the ethos behind B Corp is aligned with what we are trying to achieve at bio-bean, so to become a B Corp is a fantastic recognition of the business that the team has built, as well as being a clear marker for the way in which we will operate going forward.

We’re extremely proud to be members of the wider B Corp community. To find out more about our certification, visit our B Corp announcement here.

November and December

Despite being in the UK’s second lockdown we’ve been able to continue operations to recycle spent coffee into our natural flavours, solid biofuels, and raw material for other product innovations.

In fact, since 1st January, despite all the disruption that COVID has inflicted, we’ve still recycled nearly 4,000 tonnes of spent coffee grounds. This means we’ve saved over 1,700 tonnes of CO2e emissions, equal to 4.2 million road miles driven by an average car!

Our heartfelt thanks

We are extremely proud of the way the entire bio-bean team has responded to the ongoing crisis, from pulling together to help those who need to shield or isolate, to rising to the challenges of working in this ‘new normal’. The ambition and tenacity of our team has shone through in our agility and ability to rise to the occasion whilst supporting and nurturing one another through the rapid, ongoing changes we’ve all been facing.

And as we close out the calendar year, we’re grateful to all our clients, partners, customers, and supporters who have continued to demonstrate their faith in our purpose throughout this most turbulent of times. Our heartfelt thanks to all of you for helping us to create big change that lasts by innovating through coffee ‘waste’.

Looking ahead to 2021

Looking ahead to 2021, we have great hopes for control of the virus and the advancement of a green recovery. Collaboration, flexibility, and longer-term, innovative strategies are crucial to this, and we will certainly be doing our part.

If you’re interested in getting involved, whether through recycling your business’s spent grounds, selling Coffee Logs or using our dried grounds as a raw material for your sustainable product innovation, don’t hesitate to get in touch.