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Royal College of Physicians recycles coffee grounds into eco-friendly fire logs

Tuesday, February 4, 2020 - 13:45

The Royal College of Physicians Meetings & Events and its caterer CH&Co have partnered with bio-bean, the world's largest recycler of spent coffee grounds, to transform its 3,500 kg of waste coffee grounds a year into sustainable bio-products.

The venue’s coffee grounds, which formerly went into the RCP’s food waste and were processed by anaerobic digestion (AD) into compost, will now be diverted and recycled into eco-friendly fire logs, saving 70 % of the CO2e emissions versus the grounds being sent to AD.

Recycling waste coffee grounds into coffee logs not only saves on emissions but also harnesses the untapped energy contained in the grounds to give them a second life as a useful product. Spent coffee grounds have a naturally high oil content, and therefore a high calorific value, making them an ideal energy source.

Before being compressed into compact logs, the waste grounds go through an engineered drying process that ensures the moisture content of each log is around 10%; perfect for burning. This, combined with their naturally high calorific value, allows coffee logs to burn 20% hotter and longer than kiln-dried wood. They burn, on average, for an hour, depending on the appliance efficiency and its airflow control. Each log is made from the grounds of around 25 cups of coffee and will be used in RCP Meeting & Events’ pizza ovens.

RCP Meetings & Events’ Head of Commercial Events, Natacha Allen, says: “Sustainability is a key part of our everyday operations across all areas of the business, including catering, waste management, energy and with the suppliers and service partners we work with. We are really proud to have reduced our total carbon footprint by 30% over the past three years and are committed to reducing our environmental impact even further across all our operations. Working with bio-bean on such an interesting project is further testament to these efforts.”

In 2019, RCP recycled 4,925kg of cardboard, 9,125kg of paper, 18,000kg of glass and 6000kg of junk, saving 560 trees and 64 tonnes of co2.