28 May 2019 | pacts insight | Views:

Waste Happens: how responsible waste management can work

You might scoff in derision at people who drop crumpled McDonalds wrappers out of their car window at red lights. You might be good at cleaning out your old jars before popping them in the green bin. But have you taken a look at the practices of your own business?

Businesses cause 25% of all waste in England. This is a problem, and not enough is being done. The efforts that are being made, might not be having as big an effect as you’d hope. Although official figures state 39% of plastic packaging is recycled (not that that’s enough), it’s estimated that the real amount is 23-29% - as there are big issues in the way waste is measured.

An example: ‘recyclable’ coffee cups

To give one specific example, while many offices and coffee chains may claim to be providing recyclable cups, this may not be the case for a number of reasons:

- Many ‘paper’ coffee cups assumed to be recyclable actually aren’t, due to the use of plastic linings. This leads to contamination of products that can be recycled, and more waste

- Most ‘recyclable’ coffee cups cannot be recycled by putting them in on-street or at-home recycling bins, as very few facilities exist that can separate the component parts - causing even more waste

- Leading to just 0.25% of disposable coffee cups being recycled, while around 500,000 are littered every day

It’s a frustrating battle to actually be - not just appear - green. At Pact Coffee for Business we rely on external recycling partners to help us make the right choices regarding waste management, and we think that’s the way to go.


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.

As an office, we get through a considerable amount of coffee - and that, in turn, means we end up with a shedload of used grounds. Thanks to bio-bean, we can feel assured that our coffee grounds will be repurposed into something useful and environmentally useful.

First Mile

Speaking of single-use cups - when they have to be an option, it’s important to make sure you’re disposing of them properly. For that, we’d always recommend First Mile - we even use them ourselves to pick up the coffee grounds we send to bio-bean.

A recycling company who deal with everything from Christmas trees to old sweatshirts, First Mile will make sure your used coffee cups live on in a different form - from paper products to shopping bags. And they’ll pick up directly from your business or kerbside, for the easiest way yet to look after the planet.


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