An innovative approach to waste


As a nation, the UK drinks 55 million cups of coffee each day, creating 500,000 tons of waste coffee grounds every year. Most of this ends up in landfill, which is a costly form of waste disposal for businesses and is also very damaging to the environment.

At the Backroom, we love to see UK businesses taking innovative approaches to solving environmental problems. So we were delighted to be commissioned by Roadchef, the UK’s leading motorway service operator, to produce a short video about their innovative partnership with Olleco and bio-bean – the first ever business to recycle waste coffee grounds into biofuel on an industrial scale.

Before we even put pen to paper, it was important for us to understand how the process worked, so we spent some time getting under the skin of the project. 

In a nutshell, used coffee grounds are collected from 28 Roadchef sites by transportation company Olleco, and taken to bio-bean’s factory in Cambridgeshire. They are then cleaned, dried and recycled into products for industry and homes, such as heating pellets and coffee logs for woodburners.

We created the initial storyboard to agree the content and overall look and feel. The video uses a combination of existing and new footage taken at Norton Canes, Roadchef’s flagship motorway service area. The three companies were keen to promote the recycling message, and we worked closely with all parties to deliver a great end result.

Roadchef welcomes more than 50 million motorists through its doors every year, and sells around 7 million cups of coffee. Roadchef and bio-bean estimate that over 200 tons of waste coffee grounds will be collected through the new scheme by the end of 2018, saving 112 tons of greenhouse gas emissions compared to landfill disposal.

To find out more about this great initiative from Roadchef, Olleco and bio-bean, take a look at the video we created above, and visit Roadchef’s sustainability page here.

Stephen Delaney