Coffee is one of the most consumed beverages all over the world and it is not a surprise that it also produces a large amount of waste due to disposable cups and used grounds.
Even though Starbucks came up with an initiative for recycled products instead of disposable cups, the company has not proposed a plan for used coffee. However, the UK startup Bio-bean has found a way to make use of this resource.
According to a study conducted in 2011, people
around the world drink around 2 billion cups of coffee every day that results
in 6 million tons of used ground every year. The waste is thrown away and when
it seeps into the ground, it releases a greenhouse gas which is damaging for the
Bio-bean has decided to turn 7000 tons of ground coffee into biofuels every year. In 2017, the organization came up with a coffee-based biofuel that could be used in London’s diesel buses but the option wasn’t practical so they have now switched to solid fuels for household and industrial use.
Even though these fuels also release greenhouse gases when burnt, they are able to replace other carbon-based fuels. This helps in increasing the recycling process which reduces emissions by 80%.
The organization was
founded in 2013 and since then, it has gathered around $7 million for its
venture. Bio-bean is linked with coffee shops like Costa Coffee, London
Stansted Airport, and UK railway operator Network Rail.
“We've really managed to succeed with our innovation [because] we've managed to get to scale,” says George May, director and Chief Commercial Officer of Bio-bean. “Other people may recycle one or 10 tons of coffee. We've recycled over 20,000 tons in our lifetime.”
Due to the pandemic, Bio-bean is facing a massive challenge. Most of the coffee outlets in the UK have closed temporarily but the organization is still managing to get grounds from other coffee partners. However, the volumes are less and this is affecting their fuel production.