Secrets of the Disruptors:
Peter Griffiths, bio-bean

Peter Griffiths is the Chief Financial Officer of bio-bean, which recycles waste coffee grounds into biofuels, biomass pellets, and bio-chemicals. It has partnerships to collect waste coffee grounds from café chains including Costa and Caffè Nero to transform into green fuel for homes and businesses.

What does your organisation do and how is it challenging the industry status quo?

bio-bean is the first company in the world to recycle used coffee grounds into biofuels and biochemicals on an industrial scale.

We’re tackling some of the UK’s 500,000 tonnes of waste grounds produced every year that normally go to landfill. We work within the waste management industry to collect coffee waste produced by businesses all over the UK, and we produce eco briquettes, biomass pellets and a range of biochemicals from coffee waste

Why is this disruptive model critical for tackling environmental challenges?

Given the scale of the world’s waste problems and associated environmental impacts, the waste management industry, which is often slow to change, needs disruptive businesses that can bring new ideas and approaches to the table.

In this industry, innovation is crucial to bring about more effective and efficient waste management systems, higher recycling rates and less waste to landfill.

How do you build public support for rapid disruption of established business models?

Building a really passionate and competent team around you, ensuring that the business does what it claims to do, and understanding the message before you communicate are key to building public support.

In terms of industry support, rather than trying to take on waste management companies directly and replace what they do, we’ve sought to understand the economics of the way waste coffee is disposed of, and then created a solution that works for everyone.

Waste management companies can provide an innovative new service to their clients; businesses cut carbon and costs by recycling coffee waste, and we achieve a steady inbound supply of coffee grounds from which we can produce biofuels and biochemicals.

What is the secret of your success in disrupting the status quo?

There is no secret! It’s a combination of common sense, hard work, having the right team around you, and being agile and able to adapt to changing circumstances.

It’s understanding that players in the existing industry do want to be more sustainable, then working out how best to incentivise them to do this.

Read the full interview in the Secrets of the Disruptors report launched in collaboration with BusinessGreen.