Coffee chains create a lot of waste, from disposable takeaway cups to the used grounds that are sent to rot in landfills.
Starbucks (SBUX) has started to trial recyclable alternatives to the disposable cups. But the used coffee is often overlooked. UK startup Bio-bean thinks it has found a way to turn that waste into a valuable resource.
The world drinks around 2 billion cups of coffee a day, producing 6 million tons of used grounds every year, according to a 2011 study. When they go to landfill, the decomposing grounds release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming.
Bio-bean, however, is turning 7,000 tons of those grounds a year into biofuels. In 2017, it developed a coffee-based biofuel to be used in London’s diesel buses, but it wasn’t commercially viable, so the company has shifted its focus to solid fuels for household and industrial use.