The Coffee Collections Conundrum

For a long time, one of the biggest headaches that we faced at Revive was “how do we access used coffee grounds”? We knew companies were looking for a solution to their coffee waste problem. We knew what to do with them once we had them. But actually getting them appeared to be a logistical nightmare!

We went through a huge range of possible solutions, all of which required huge amounts of planning and investment to get off the ground:

  • Hiring our own van to collect the grounds,
  • Asking the coffee roasters to backhaul the grounds when they were delivering the coffee beans
  • Hiring people to ride around town on rickshaws
  • Etc etc.

Buying or hiring a van costs a lot more than you might think. It meant we would have to hire a driver or spend half our time driving around Scotland and not focusing on building the business. We would need to buy and supply wheelie-bins to our customers (where do you even buy wheelie-bins from?). We would need to design a collection route that was the most cost effective and fuel efficient. It would be expensive and complicated.

Asking coffee roasters to backhaul the grounds is no less complicated. It would mean having waste next to their products in the vans. They would need waste carriers licenses and transfer notices. If half their van was taken up with waste, it meant they could only carry half as much product out to their customers every run they did. Who would provide the bins; us or the roaster? It would be expensive and complicated.

Hiring people to ride around town on rickshaws might sound daft, but it has its upsides; no carbon emissions, good brand exposure with bikes all around town. But, with an average cafe creating around 5-10kg of waste every day, we would need a fleet similar to the scale of Uber Eats or Deliveroo to even come close to dealing with the sort of scale we wanted to build Revive to. Not to mention, who wants to be riding around Glasgow collecting coffee waste when it’s 2 degrees and raining.

However, we’re happy to say that as of the middle of last year we now have a solution to this problem! We have partnered up with Glasgow based waste management firm Cauda to collect the grounds on our behalf. This means that now we can collect from the length and breadth of Scotland! It also means that we can focus on processing and maximising the value being created from the used coffee grounds, rather than worrying about complicated logistic operations.

If you’re interested in recycling your used coffee grounds and maximising the value of your waste, don’t hesitate to contact us here!


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