Zero Waste Week: Put your waste coffee grounds to work - bio-bean


5th September 2019

Zero Waste Week: Put your waste coffee grounds to work

This week marks the annual Zero Waste Week campaign: a prime opportunity to shed light on our consumption and waste disposal habits.

In brief, Zero Waste Week is a national 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 municipal 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 plastic, food and textiles, but there are plenty of hidden waste streams that go unnoticed.

Let’s take, for example, coffee – the ubiquitous drink that transcends all political and geographical boundaries, bringing the world’s morning warriors and late-night labourers together in a ritual daily sigh of caffeinated relief. The world population drinks 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 34 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 coffee drinking habit is unlikely to wane, it’s crucial we find ways to recycle, renew and reuse this material.

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

Over the years we’ve developed proprietary technologies to process and condition spent coffee grounds into a broad spectrum of efficient, sustainable products for a range of markets, both consumer and industrial.

We extract diverse residual compounds from food-grade spent coffee grounds, producing a natural, sustainable alternative to virgin or synthesised products. And our biomass solid fuels exploit the natural high calorific value of spent coffee grounds, providing sustainable alternatives to carbon-heavy coal and virgin biomass.

Our efficient 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 over 16,000 tonnes of spent coffee grounds. And with plans to double our processing capacity within the year, we’re in it for the long haul, creating impact built to last, empowering the concept of the circular economy and leading by example.

Achieving zero waste might be 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.