World’s fastest cyclist backs Glasgow circular scheme

Jenny Graham

JENNY Graham, the fastest female to circle the earth on a bike has backed an innovative recycling scheme being piloted across Glasgow during the inaugural 2023 UCI World Cycling Championships. 

An expected one million spectators are to descend into Scotland during Championships and thanks to a new scheme from Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, supported by Zero Waste Scotland and Glasgow Life, an estimated 8.5 tonnes of coffee is set to be turned into compost to be used at the Botanic Gardens.  

In 2018, over the course of 18,000 miles, Jenny gained the round-the-world cycling record by taking 20 days off the previous time with an incredible finishing time of 124 days and 11 hours. 

Jenny, detailing her journey in her new book, Coffee first, then the world, knows just how connect cycling and coffee are joined the team at Glasgow Botanic Gardens to launch the scheme today (Tuesday 25th July).  

Jenny said: “I struggle to think how much coffee I had during my world record attempt, but it perhaps will match the 8.5 tonnes that will be collected during the UCI World Championships! 

“I will be honest that I didn’t really think about what happened to the used ground coffee and I suspect many of the spectators and athletes competing this year will be in the same boat. But it is critical that we ensure global cycling events consider their circular credentials and there is no better city to lead that fight than Glasgow.” 

More than 60 venues across Glasgow have come together to launch ‘Grounds For Recycling’, a pilot sustainability project that will run throughout the highly anticipated championships and will see used ground coffee waste recycled into compost. 

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. 

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

Glasgow Chamber of Commerce Senior Project Lead Rebecca Ricketts, who wants to use the global cycling event as an agent 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. Coffee grounds can quickly fill food waste bins, and in some cases, used coffee grounds from smaller cafes do end up in landfill.  

“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.” 

In one year alone Scotland generates around 40,000 tonnes of coffee grounds and as Glasgow’s love of coffee continues to grow, it’s proving crucial that the city finds circular ways to recycle and reuse coffee ground waste. 

Ricketts continued: “The hope is that Grounds For Recycling will save businesses money, make our city more circular and progress our collective ambition for Glasgow to become net zero carbon by 2023.” 

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