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Bartlett graduate’s venture is now the largest coffee ground recycler worldwide

Arthur Kay founded bio-bean in 2013 while studying at The Bartlett, UCL’s Faculty of the Built Environment. Today, the company is the largest coffee recycler in the world.

UCL graduate’s venture is now the largest coffee ground recycler worldwide

28 September 2022

bio-bean transforms spent coffee grounds into a variety of sustainable products, such as solid biofuels for use in the home and by industry. The process reduces CO2 emissions by 80% compared with sending grounds to landfill and contributes to the circular economy. 

Architecture student Arthur Kay came up with the idea when tasked with designing a sustainable coffee shop as part of his degree at The Bartlett. With support from UCL Innovation & Enterprise, he transformed the idea into a fledgling company, after taking part in entrepreneurship programmes and receiving business advice.  

“I had support from so many different parts of UCL, especially from UCL Innovation & Enterprise. Winning the Bright Ideas award (now ‘Build your own business 3: Launch your business’) was the first real boost, allowing me to commit to the business full time and help make bio-bean a reality. I’d encourage students to use the vast resources at hand in UCL.” 

“Winning the Bright Ideas award was the first real boost, allowing me to commit to the business full time and help make bio-bean a reality.”

Since its launch, bio-bean has grown rapidly, expanding its range of product innovations, raising several million pounds in investment, winning awards and growing to a team of over 30.  

Jerry Allen, Director for Entrepreneurship at UCL Innovation & Enterprise, said: “Arthur is a natural entrepreneur, who was able to realise the great potential of his idea with support from The Bartlett and UCL Innovation & Enterprise. His success with bio-bean is a continued source of inspiration for our startups coming through today devising their own innovative solutions to societal challenges.”  

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