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!

This week marks the 14th annual Zero Waste Week: a prime opportunity to shed light on our collective manufacturing and consumption habits and the innovative alternatives that are making sustainable choices accessible and impossible to ignore.

In brief, Zero Waste Week is an international awareness campaign providing a focus for anyone looking to reduce their volume of waste. The campaign challenges and encourages participants to make pledges for new habits and exchange ideas for upcycling and recycling. This campaign, and others like it, plays a crucial role in raising the global awareness and support required to create the large-scale behaviour change needed for a significant and sustainable impact.

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 is disposed of in landfills where it generates harmful greenhouse gas emissions, such as methane, contributing to climate change.

There are significant efforts being made globally 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 95 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, resulting 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. 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, big or small, in the UK to transform these spent coffee grounds into value at an industrial scale, giving new life to this material previously considered waste.

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 bio-plastics, cosmetics and automotive friction. And our biomass solid fuels exploit the naturally high calorific value of spent coffee grounds, providing sustainable alternatives to carbon-heavy coal and virgin biomass.

Our coffee recycling and renewals service reduces the financial implications and inefficiencies of traditional disposal methods, whilst achieving significant environmental benefits. Since starting in 2013, we’ve recycled nearly 30,000 tonnes of spent coffee grounds, saving businesses money, reducing waste and subsequent greenhouse gas emissions, and contributing 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.