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Recycling coffee grounds

In addition to recycling materials like paper and glass, UK recycling company Paper Round collects coffee grounds separately, to be turned into bio-fuel by start-up Bio-Bean.

Many of us like or can’t even function without a cuppa Joe in the morning. Annually, about 7 million metric tons of coffee is produced, which leaves a lot of coffee grounds, the majority of which goes to the landfill or is composted. In the UK alone, 1.8 tonnes of CO2 emissions are generated by the 500,000 tonnes of coffee waste that needs to be disposed of. However, coffee grounds can be a very useful material in the right hands.

Recycling company Paper Round decided that aside from commonly separately collected materials like glass or paper, they can also collect waste coffee grounds. Any organisation that serves a lot of coffee can join the project. The company receives a bin or caddie to collect coffee grounds in, which is picked up by Paper Round. In turn, Paper Round brings the grounds to Bio-bean, a company that produces bio-fuel from coffee.

Bio-bean produces bio-fuel in the form of pellets and logs, which is a sustainable alternative to woody biomass. The company is also working on creating biodiesel and biochemicals made from coffee.

A constant stream of coffee waste is important for the development of new, coffee-based materials, from fuel to fabric. For our current coffee collection, click here.

Photo: George Hodan