Railway stations go full steam ahead with coffee recycling scheme

The company that owns and operates Britain's stations, Network Rail, has announced a new partnership to turn coffee waste into biofuel.

The recycling scheme is being rolled out to Network Rail's six biggest stations

The recycling scheme is being rolled out to Network Rail's six biggest stations

Following a successful trial at London’s Victoria and Waterloo stations, Network Rail has signed an agreement with bio-bean – a company that recycles waste coffee grounds into a carbon-neutral fuel.

The scheme will now be rolled out to Network Rail’s six biggest stations - Euston, King’s Cross, Liverpool Street, Paddington, Victoria and Waterloo - which between them generate nearly 700 tonnes of coffee waste each year.

Rather than sending it to landfill, where it would release more than 5,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year, this waste will generate over 650 tonnes of biofuel, enough to power the equivalent of 1,000 homes for a year.

Good use

David Biggs, the managing director of property at Network Rail, said: “Millions of cups of coffee are bought in our stations every year and that number is growing as passenger numbers continue to rise.

“This partnership will see the waste from those purchases put to good use, creating biofuels that can be used in vehicles and to heat homes and saving more than 5,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.

“It’s good news that our stations are cutting their carbon footprint while also saving passengers and taxpayers money. The new solution is cheaper than sending the waste to landfill, which means we can invest more in making the railway better for the four million people who travel by rail each day.”

Bio-bean CEO Arthur Kay added: “The UK generates over 500,000 tonnes of waste coffee grounds each year, costing the coffee industry almost £80 million in waste disposal fees. Bio-bean recycles waste coffee grounds into advanced biofuels at an industrial scale, creating local, sustainable green energy as an alternative to fossil fuels.

"We are delighted to provide a cost-effective disposal solution for waste coffee grounds from these major transport hubs.”

Network Rail has already turned to electric trains in its effort to reduce its environmental impact, although a recent report suggested the company should go even further by installing solar panels on unused trackside land.

Brad Allen


biofuels | rail | transport


Waste & resource management
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