3 females and a male posed on coffee sacks with a cup of coffee a beer and a tray of coffee beans



Sixty businesses across Glasgow are to unite in a bid to repurpose an estimated 8.5 tonnes of used coffee grounds during the inaugural 2023 UCI World Cycling Championships.

Grounds For Recycling is a new pilot scheme launched to coincide with the championship that will see used ground coffee collected from venues across the city and transformed into compost to be used within the iconic Botanic Gardens.

With over one million spectators expected to attend events across the Cycling Championship, this innovative scheme from Glasgow Chamber of Commerce and it’s Circular Glasgow initiative, supported by Zero Waste Scotland and Glasgow Life, will promote a more circular economy across the city.

The 20-day campaign aims to demonstrate to hospitality and leisure businesses across the city the benefits of being a circular business which can positively impact the planet and reduce costs.

Launching July 25, the coffee grounds from participating venues will be collected by B-Corp certified and sustainable logistics provider, Urb-it and delivered to Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens via their e-cargo bike fleet. From there, the used coffee will be turned into compost to build ecosystems that capture carbon, rehabilitate soil, and support wildlife and biodiversity across the famous gardens.

Inspired by the success of ‘Plate Up For Glasgow’, an initiative held during COP26 designed to highlight the global issue of food waste, Grounds For Recycling was founded by Rebecca Ricketts , Senior Project Lead , Glasgow Chamber of Commerce.

Using the UCI Cycling World Championship as a catalyst for change, Ricketts said: “Global events held in Glasgow create a platform to highlight these types of challenges and can be used as a catalyst for making significant progress towards our net zero ambitions.

“Grounds For Recycling has been developed from direct feedback from organisations who found leftover coffee grounds one of the trickiest items to dispose of responsibly.

“This project is about providing a solution and we are very fortunate here in Glasgow to have so many incredible businesses who are developing innovative ways to recycle and reuse what would otherwise be wasted resource.

“Coffee is a remarkably versatile product which can be recycled into compost, beauty products, flavourings for food and drink, providing an alternative to palm oil and so much more. Our hope is that this scheme will help businesses reassess their waste stream and start looking at it as a way to generate new revenue while making significant savings.”

Sixty businesses of all sizes and sectors within Glasgow will contribute, including St .Enoch’s Centre, SWG3, Drygate and Emirates Arena, where the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome will be a key location during the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships.

Whether you are a keen cyclist, coffee drinker, or interested in making sustainable change, the campaign encourages everyone to get involved. The scheme will run from July 25 – August 13.

Bailie Annette Christie, Chair of Glasgow Life, said: “Hosting the Cycling World Championships gives us a great platform to continue our city’s sustainability journey, work with our hospitality businesses and pilot inspired projects such as Grounds for Recycling.

“This relatively simple idea to repurpose a waste stream is also something which could be easily replicated in cities around the country, who are also dealing with tonnes of spent coffee grinds potentially ending in landfill each year.”

Matt Corden, Managing Director, Drygate said:

“We have been working with Dear Green Coffee for years, providing exceptional coffee that finds its way into our beers.However, this is the first time we thought about flavouring our beer using leftover coffee grounds.I feel organisations still view waste as just that but utilising the business network here in Glasgow we hope to demonstrate how adopting circular principals can bring about tangible business benefits.

“Schemes like Grounds For Recycling opens the door to show what is possible and our beer is just one example of the incredible ways we can better recycle and reuse waste.”

Lisa Lawson, Founder, Dear Green Coffee Roasters said:

“Our customer base regularly highlights the challenges of disposing of used coffee grounds, but it is a very versatile waste bi-product that can be repurposed in various ways.

“This scheme offers a practical solution allowing coffee shop operators to dispose of their coffee waste in an environmentally friendly way which doesn’t add any further processes or costs to the business.

“We are very proud to support this scheme and hope it encourages more businesses to reassess how they view circularity and the value it can add to their business.”

Iain Gulland, Chief Executive, Zero Waste Scotland said: “With customers increasingly calling on brands to minimise their environmental impact and provide more sustainable options, embracing the circular economy is a smart business decision as well as being better for the planet.

“The circular economy is the best tool we have to help us tackle our throwaway culture, live within the limits of our natural environment, and maintain a high quality of life. Reducing food waste and maximising the value of food and drink by-products like coffee grounds, are an essential part of this, as food and drink has such a high carbon footprint from its production, and food releases methane if sent to landfill.

“Zero Waste Scotland has supported businesses to find innovative circular solutions using coffee grounds – from using in beauty products to producing alternatives to palm oil. Grounds for Recycling is another exciting example of the circular economy in action, and it’s fantastic to be working in partnership with Glasgow Chamber of Commerce to attract even more businesses to join Scotland’s growing circular economy.”

Sarah O'Carroll, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Cities Lead: “Grounds for Recycling is an ambitious and creative initiative. It is another impressive example of Glasgow nurturing bottom up collective action to support the transition to a circular economy. The campaign is not only about upcycling spent coffee grounds into productive uses, it is about bringing together the city’s businesses, their staff and their customers and showcasing how reimagining waste as a resource can create community and opportunity. Other cities should watch and learn.”