Thursday 6 Jul 2017
Railway station coffee recycling scheme receives national recognition at prestigious green business awards
- Ground-breaking collaboration between Network Rail and biofuels start-up, bio-bean, is highly commended at leading environmental awards
- Scheme gives new meaning to daily grind, with grounds from 38m cups of coffee from stations across Britain converted into biofuel
- Initiative prevented an estimated 5,000 tonnes of CO2 from entering atmosphere
An innovative coffee recycling partnership between Network Rail and bio-bean, which has prevented an estimated 5,000 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere since April 2015, has received national recognition at the UK’s most prestigious green business awards.
Last week, the partnership – which is the largest initiative of its kind – received a Highly-Commended award for the Circular Economy Project of the Year at the BusinessGreen Leaders Awards, and was also shortlisted for recognition at the National Recycling Awards. Following its success, Network Rail is now rolling out the scheme beyond London to two more stations, bringing the total to eight across the UK.
The scheme sees Network Rail partner closely with bio-bean, which reprocesses the waste from coffee into Coffee Logs, a fuel for the home. The trial has already converted 790 tonnes of coffee – equivalent to the weight of more than 60 double decker buses – from 38 million cups, providing enough fuel to heat 11,000 average sized houses for a year.
The scheme, a first for Network Rail, involves close collaboration with station retailers such as Pret a Manger, Caffe Nero, and Starbucks as well as bio-bean, which turns the discarded grounds into advanced biofuels at its factory in Alconbury, Cambridgeshire.
The coffee-to-fuel initiative demonstrates the important role organisations such as Network Rail and bio-bean can play in helping to embed sustainability into daily business practice.
David Biggs, managing director, Network Rail Property said:
"Network Rail is one of the largest retail landlords in the country and we are proud to have been recognised for our sustainability credentials at the most prestigious green business awards in the UK. The commendation of our Coffee Recycling Scheme shows that by forging close relationships with pioneers like bio-bean and our station retailers, we are encouraging the adoption of greener energy initiatives across our stations and showing that transport hubs can play a key role in driving sustainable business practices.
“Caffeine has long been fuelling the daily commute but now Britain’s much-loved morning coffee could quite literally be fuelling the nation thanks to our Coffee Recycling Scheme with bio-bean.”
Tom Bage, head of communications and marketing, bio-bean said:
“bio-bean and Network Rail’s partnership is achieving great things. By recycling coffee, we tackle climate change, save businesses money and create carbon neutral fuels like Coffee Logs, which are already heating Britain’s homes in a greener and more cost-effective way.
“bio-bean is looking forward to expanding our work with Network Rail further so we can get even more households powered by coffee.”
Network Rail’s Coffee Recycling Scheme was initially trialled at six stations in London in April 2015. This is now expanding to Reading and Bristol Temple Meads, with a further rollout of the scheme at all of Network Rail’s 17 managed stations across Britain expected to be complete by the end of the year.
 5,528 tonnes of CO2 saved since April 2015
 Based on average listed weight of London Routemaster bus – 12.65 tonnes
 Calculated as 11,184 average sized three-bedroom houses
About Network Rail
Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 38,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.
About the Railway Upgrade Plan
The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:
- longer, faster more frequent trains;
- better, more reliable infrastructure; and
- better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.