Bio-bean at Borough

Categories: News and previews

Clean technology company bio-bean collects coffee grounds to be converted into biofuels

Borough Market has teamed up with award-winning clean technology company bio-bean to ensure that waste coffee grounds created by the Market’s many cafes and coffee traders are being put to the best possible use. Starting in August, used coffee grounds from Rabot 1745, Flat Cap, The Colombian Coffee Company, Change Please Coffee and Roast will be collected in special bins, then taken away to be converted into carbon neutral advanced biofuels. 

The company, founded in 2013 by Arthur Kay, then an architecture student at University College London, has rapidly become one of the most innovative and highly acclaimed players in the sector. It specialises in recycling waste coffee grounds to create biomass pellets, which are used for heating buildings, and Coffee LogsTM, which are suitable for domestic appliances such as compatible solid-fuel stoves, chimeneas and open fires, and research is ongoing into the commercial potential of biodiesel and biochemicals. 

A fascinating subject
Arthur said: “When I was a student, I realised that used coffee grounds were pouring out of everywhere, from coffee shops to train stations, in massive volumes and no one was doing anything interesting with it at all. It was a problem that I wanted to solve. Coffee is a fascinating substance—there are all sorts of different things in it.” 

This is just the latest step in the Market’s mission to put every leftover piece of food or packaging to the best possible use. None of the Market’s rubbish goes to landfill: all cardboard, paper, plastic, glass or wood is recycled, and surplus produce from many of the stalls is distributed to local charities. Other food waste is sent to an anaerobic digestion plant that uses microorganisms to break down organic material and turn it into power, fertiliser and water. 

Complete the subject
David Gledhill, Director of Operations at Borough Market, said: “Our coffee traders already source their beans in a manner that is both ethically and environmentally sound. Teaming up with bio-bean allows them to complete the cycle by disposing of the used grounds in a similarly conscientious way. It is a move that all of them are extremely excited about, and one that fits perfectly with the Market’s philosophy.

As the country’s highest profile food market, Borough Market feels a responsibility to set the standard when it comes to waste disposal, just as it does with food production. Being the first market to collaborate with bio-bean in this way is another major statement of intent.”