19th October 2020
UK Coffee Week: A celebration from beans to grounds and beyond
This week we’re celebrating all things coffee for UK Coffee Week’s 10th anniversary. From the communities around the world who grow the coffee beans, to the spent grounds we recycle into second-generation bio-products, this week brings an opportunity to highlight the significant impact of coffee’s full lifecycle.
What is UK Coffee Week?
Simply put, UK Coffee Week is an annual campaign focused on celebrating all things coffee, while raising funds to support those communities who grow the beans for our favoured drink.
Access to clean water is a luxury for us here in the UK, but for 785 million people around the world that luxury does not exist. This problem affects a large proportion of those living in rural coffee growing communities.
Project Waterfall works to ensure that these communities get clean water, sanitation, and education. And, so far, this initiative has changed 30,000 lives, globally.
The coffee celebration starts here, but it certainly doesn’t end here.
The typical coffee lifecycle
After cultivation, the coffee beans that make up our daily brews here in the UK travel from what’s known as The Bean Belt (the equatorial band around the globe where coffee grows best). The beans are then roasted and ground to create our favourite coffee drink. But what happens to the coffee grounds once they’ve been used?
Well, in the UK alone we consume 95 million cups of coffee a day. This creates around half a million tonnes of wet, spent coffee grounds. If the grounds are simply disposed of and sent to landfill with general waste, not only do they increase our waste output, but when decomposing they also emit harmful greenhouse gases, including methane (25 times more potent than carbon dioxide).
But it doesn’t have to be that way, and that’s where we come in.
How we extend coffee’s lifecycle
At bio-bean, our work extends the journey of coffee beyond just a beverage. By recycling spent coffee grounds from UK businesses large and small, and creating sustainable bio-products from the grounds, we get the most out of this largely untapped resource. Whether it be dried grounds as a raw material for bioplastics, our natural coffee flavour for food and beverage manufacturing, or our efficient solid biomass fuels. By taking a step further in the coffee lifecycle than previously imagined, we’re reducing waste, saving on emissions, and helping to drive a more circular economy.
Re-thinking waste is essential for the long-term sustainability of our planet. That’s why it’s important that we look beyond the current lifecycle of resources, like coffee, and extract their full potential rather than wastefully dispose of them and any residual value they hold.
So this UK Coffee Week, let’s celebrate the vast potential of coffee from plant through to spent grounds, and the significant sustainable actions happening throughout its lifecycle and beyond.
You can find more information on UK Coffee Week and Project Waterfall here.