The UK’s love affair with coffee is burgeoning at an astonishing rate, so much so that high-street coffee shops are being overtaken in the fast lane by drive through coffee bars!
Starbucks first introduced the American drive-thru concept back in 2008, with the vision of opening more than 200 facilities by 2016.
So whether you’re a Starbucks fan or a Costa craver, you’ll be astonished to know that the UK produces more than 500,000 tonnes of coffee waste per year, of which, the majority is sent to landfill.
With no sign of the UK’s love affair running out of steam soon, we look at environmentally friendly initiatives which have been introduced to alleviate the reliance on landfill for business waste, as well as looking at reuse and recycling alternatives for our much loved beans!
Beans to Bio Fuel
This company has designed an industrialised process that recycles coffee ground waste into advanced biofuels. Bio-Bean works within the coffee supply chain to collect thousands of tonnes of coffee ground waste from coffee shops, coffee factories, transport hubs and offices. Through bio-beans’ innovative process, the beans are recycled into bio-mass pallets, which are re-sold back into the UK’s manufacturing industry to provide heat for factories and buildings across the country.
The Green Cup Company - Fertiliser
Green Cup offers much more than a piping hot cuppa, not only can you drink it, but you can also fertilize plants with it. The Green Cup scheme provides offices around the UK with Fairtrade coffee; it also provides offices with containers to collect the coffee ground business waste on a regular basis and turns it into fertilizer. The company is so fanatical about fertiliser that they claim to send around the Coffee Warden to claim back the grounds.
Those clever folk at Green Cup not only use coffee as a fertiliser, they have also designed a range of crafty items of furniture which are made out of hybrid materials including 60% coffee grounds.
Google, who is one of the company’s high profile customers, boasts a number of items of furniture in its snazzy offices.
What can I do to Recycle My Coffee?
It may be a by-product of producing the perfect brew, but there are a number of ways you can use these leftovers, here are a few of our top tips;
- Pest Repellent – sprinkle the flavoursome grounds among your favourite plants and greenery to protect them against destructive garden pests!
- Fertilise your Garden – yes that’s right, you may not fancy those mushy old grounds but your azaleas, hydrangeas, roses or other acid loving plants will! Mix the grounds with old plant clippings, leaves and straw to help neutralise acidity in your soil.
- Composting – If your garden isn’t quite ready to be fertilised, then why don’t you try adding the coffee grounds to your compost heap! The grounds which are rich in nitrogen are excellent for decomposition. And if your lazy, and would rather walk to the bin than the outside compost heap, then bag yourself one of these counter top compost keepers.