How much coffee do you drink, one cup, two cups, or maybe even more than that? A 2021 survey showed that about 70% of British consumers drink at least two cups of coffee a day. According to the British Coffee Association, in the UK, we now drink approximately 98 million cups of coffee per day. 
80% of UK households buy instant coffee for in-home consumption, particularly those aged 65 and older whilst on the other hand, ground coffee and single-serve coffee pods are becoming increasingly popular, particularly amongst millennials (aged 16-34) who account for 16% of all buyers.
Drinking that much coffee leads to a lot of waste. Coffee jars, lids, pods, filters and grounds are just some of the waste that comes from consuming that much coffee. We can help to reduce our waste from drinking coffee by recycling any items that are recyclable, like glass jars, plastic lids, coffee pods and paper filters, but did you know that some of that waste can be used as a form of alternative energy?
 Image of coffee beans in the shape of a coffee cup and saucer.
Bio-Bean, a UK start-up, takes the production of renewable energy to a whole new level – creating energy from coffee ground waste left behind in coffee machines, using it to make advanced forms of biofuels. It is at the forefront of turning coffee ground waste from cafés, instant-coffee factories, and office blocks across the UK into carbon-neutral biofuels: biodiesel and biomass pellets. 
Coffee Grounds Waste
On average, the UK produces more than 500,000 tonnes of coffee ground waste per year. London alone produces the majority of this waste, accounting for 200,000 tonnes of coffee ground waste from coffee shops, coffee factories, retailers, etc. per year.
How Does Bio-Bean help?
Once the coffee ground waste is collected, it is recycled and transported to the 20,000 square foot factory, which opened in 2015, where 50,000 tonnes of coffee ground waste can be processed per year. Here the collected coffee ground waste is converted to biodiesel fuel and biomass pellets. Once the conversion process is completed, these fuels are then sold as a means to power businesses and transportation in London.
The coffee grounds are sifted and dried. They are then hammered and pressed and mixed with an organic solvent to remove any remnants of plant oils and coffee smell. These are then pressed into pellets that can be burned for heat generation in boilers and stoves that require biomass fuel sources.
If you are unable to get your coffee grounds to Bio-Bean to recycle them, you can sprinkle them on your compost pile instead. Coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen, which can provide bacteria with the energy they need to turn organic matter into compost. Coffee grounds, in compost, can generally take between three to four months to decompose and tun into compost.
Using a reusable coffee mug can cut back on the amount of single use coffee cups and lids that we consume. They can be bought from most shops, including cafes and come in many colours and shapes/sizes to suit your taste. It is important for us to still enjoy life’s little luxuries such as a good cup of coffee, but to also be mindful of our impacts on the planet and how we can make little changes to our lifestyle, to prevent unnecessary waste and recycle as much as possible, wherever possible.
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 From Pexels, accessed 03/07/2023. Photo credit Samer Daboul. https://www.pexels.com/photo/brown-coffee-bean-forming-coffee-mug-1005766/