Zero Waste Week: There's no such thing as waste coffee! - bio-bean

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9th September 2021

Zero Waste Week: There’s no such thing as waste coffee!

Updated 7th September 2022

This week marks the 14th annual Zero Waste Week: an international awareness and action campaign to reduce waste whilst increasing reuse and recycling.

According to the World Bank, we currently generate over 2 billion tonnes of solid waste globally each year, with projections reaching 3.4 billion tonnes by 2050.  Almost 40% of that waste goes to landfill where it generates harmful greenhouse gas emissions, such as methane, contributing to climate change.

Globally, individuals, businesses and governments are making significant efforts to cut waste from plastics, food and textiles. But what about the hidden waste streams that go unnoticed?

Coffee doesn’t have to be wasteful

Let’s take, for example, coffee. The world’s love of coffee means that globally we consume over 2.25 billion cups of coffee every day. The UK alone accounts for 98 million of those daily cups. And with an estimated average of 11 grams of fresh ground coffee going into each cup, a staggering 9 million tonnes of ground coffee are brewed round the world every year. This results in an estimated 18 million tonnes of wet, waste coffee grounds.

But once the coffee’s been poured what happens to all those spent grounds?

Typically, spent coffee grounds are dumped into general waste and sent to landfill where they emit methane – a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide and one of the primary causes of global warming. Or they’re sent to anaerobic digestion or incineration, disposal methods which don’t utilise the full potential of the grounds as a resource.

This level of detrimental waste is a calamity in itself. But as the world’s love of coffee is unlikely to wane, it’s crucial we find ways to recycle, renew and reuse this byproduct.

bio-bean’s sustainable solutions for coffee waste

Here at bio-bean, we’re proud to be the world’s largest recycler of coffee grounds. We work with companies in the UK, large and small, to transform these spent coffee grounds into value at an industrial scale, giving new life to this material previously considered waste.

Since starting in 2013, we’ve recycled over 30,000 tonnes of spent coffee grounds!

Over the years we’ve developed the technology and processes to upcycle spent coffee grounds into a range of sustainable bio-product solutions for both consumer and industrial markets.

We extract residual compounds from food-grade spent coffee grounds, producing a natural, sustainable flavouring ingredient for the food and beverage industry. Our bulk raw material, Inficaf, is perfect for product innovations in industries such as plastics and bio-plastics, cosmetics, and automotive friction. And our biomass solid fuels, including Coffee Logs, exploit the naturally high calorific value of spent coffee grounds, providing sustainable alternatives to carbon-heavy coal, virgin biomass, and imported fuels.

Our coffee recycling and renewals service reduces the financial implications and inefficiencies of traditional disposal methods, whilst achieving significant environmental benefits. Our solution saves businesses money, reduces waste and subsequent greenhouse gas emissions, and contributes to the circular economy.

Achieving zero waste might sound easier said than done. But the simple step of recycling your business’s spent coffee grounds is a good place to start. Contact us to get started today.