2 January 2019 | pacts insight | Views:

bio-bean: the Hot New Way to Recycle Coffee!

Office kitchens are… not the best, when it comes to people observing basic cleanliness standards. The biggest offender? Coffee grounds! How do they get everywhere? And while a scattering of that gritty shirt-staining stuff is one thing, what do you do with them when you’re getting through serious quantities of the stuff?

There’s not a garden to make compost for (unless you work in one of those trendy ‘we allow dogs and provide free smoothies every morning’ type offices). So are you resigned to chucking them away? Is there anything else you can do with them?

Enter bio-bean

bio-bean don’t just offer a convenient and cost-effective way to get rid of your coffee grounds - they help your company be more environmentally friendly at the same time. Since 2013, they’ve been collecting coffee grounds and recycling it into advanced biofuels and biochemicals.

They collect waste from over 1500 UK companies (including big names like Costa, Caffè Nero and Network Rail) and turn it into biomass and Coffee Logs, a fuel source which creates a hotter and brighter fire than traditional fuels. But more importantly that that, they’re a greener solution than just throwing your grounds away. And that’s important.

Why coffee lovers should care about the environment

Things are hotting up, and we should be worried about it. Globally, temperatures have risen by 1°C since 1850 and new data shows an additional increase of 4.8°C is likely to happen by 2100. And that comes with a whole host of disastrous consequences.

Studies suggest that half of all farmland used to grow speciality coffee will be gone by 2050, and in Latin America there could be only 12% of this sort of land left. And there’s a lot of reasons why that is, including the fact that a higher temperature is an excellent breeding ground for pests and crop disease - with between 59-75% of farmers noticing an increase in one or the other.

Over the next decade, even a 1.5°C rise would make insects twice as likely to “lose half their habitat” - a fearful prospect for the pollination of all plants. And that’s not just a terrifying prospect in terms of getting your regular caffeine fix, it also threatens the existence of the human race itself.

Pact Coffee: our part

Every company has a responsibility to do what it can. For our part, it’s about making sure the farms we work with are working towards a greener world. Quite literally! We work with the San Isidro Group (a collection of farms like Buenos Aires, Casa Loma and El Cairo) which has formed to protect the rainforest. Together, they buy large sections to preserve in its natural state. A similar thing is also being doing by the Planalto farm in Brazil, and all in an attempt to slow the rate of global warming.

bio-bean: their part

bio-bean work on making coffee environmentally friendly a little further along the chain. You wouldn’t think coffee grounds would be a culprit when it comes to global warming, but you’d be surprised. Thousands of tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions are not a matter of ‘oh, just chuck in the bin’.

Their solution is to rescue these unwanted grounds from coffee chains, offices and anywhere else that’s got a lot of the stuff, and then turn it into carbon neutral biofuel. Not only does this reduce emissions by 60% (compared to it going to landfill), it also creates a fuel which produces 20% more energy than wood, for a longer and hotter burn, and saves a tonne of coal for every 2.5 tonnes of coffee grounds recycled.

What that means for your workplace

Having bio-bean recycle your coffee grounds could help you meet or exceed your sustainability targets. Which is great. But almost as importantly, it could also mean you save money.

Firstly, wet coffee grounds are heavy. Bins and bins of it can mean waste refusal services will charge a lot. Not to mention, these dastardly grounds have a wicked way of finding themselves into your dry recycling - which not only means you can face charges, it also often means that batch of recycling will have to go to landfill. Not ideal.

So there is a better way. bio-bean will work with its waste management partners to find a cost-saving or cost-neutral solution for you. You’ll save on waste disposal, and meet your sustainability targets at the same time - plus no more grotty grounds hanging around the office! It just makes sense.


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