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Cawleys brings bio-tech breakthrough for coffee recycling in Beds, Bucks, Northants and Herts

Charlie from Charlie's Coffee & Company in St Albans, waving from the side of her coffee van

Cawleys new waste collection service could end the waste from drinking takeaway coffee across four counties of south east England, as it introduces the first service where businesses can recycle both coffee grounds and take away cups.

The UK uses seven million disposable coffee cups every day or 2.5 billion every year. An assessment from Cawleys estimates that the towns of St. Albans, Bedford, Luton, Milton Keynes and Northampton combined could produce a total of over three million kilos of ground coffee waste a year, and 34,600 single use coffee cups a day.

Creating a second life use is considered the premium solution for any waste material, and under this new partnership, coffee grounds from across the region can now be collected and recycled into Coffee Logs.  Coffee Logs burn like wood but for longer and at a higher temperature than real wood, making them an excellent fuel source. They can be used in any setting such as stoves, open fires, and chimeneas.

Leading the way in recycling coffee ground

An independent coffee shop in St Albans, Charlie’s Coffee & Company, has become the first in Hertfordshire to adopt this new way of recycling coffee grounds.

Charlies Coffee & Company is a familiar sight to St Albans commuters as Charlie serves coffee from the back of her van every morning by the train station. Charlie said:

“It’s amazing to think that the amount of coffee grounds my little company produces in one year weighs twice as much as my van!  It shows just why it’s so important to recycle properly. Turning coffee grounds into a  bio-fuel is a brilliant idea.  My sourcing policies and environmental commitments have always been really important to me, and when I discovered this new recycling service was available in Hertfordshire I jumped at it!”

Cawleys coffee recycling service working for Charlie's Coffee & Company

Sam Southey from Cawleys with Charlie

Anna Cawley, Director of Customer Services at Cawleys, said:

“We want to encourage every retail outlet, restaurant, cafe, coffee shop and office – essentially any place where consumers enjoy a cup of coffee across Beds, Bucks, Northants and Herts – to realise the benefits of coffee recycling.

“Recycling coffee helps reduce greenhouse gases, diverts waste away from landfill and ultimately, gives your latte a useful second life.”

Cawleys provides special caddies to store the coffee grounds separately from other waste streams and then collects them as part of their recycling rounds, making an efficient use of transport, which is another important consideration for any organisation wishing to reduce its environmental impact.

Clean Coffee Zone

Nearly 100 tonnes of coffee grounds has already been collected by Cawleys from its customers’ retail sites, including Canary Wharf, which became a clean coffee zone in 2017.  And earlier this year the 50,000th Coffee Log was created using grounds collected by Cawleys and reprocessed by bio-bean.

Each Coffee Log is made from the grounds of 25 cups of coffee and contains 20 per cent more energy than wood. As a result, Coffee Logs burn hotter and longer than traditional wood, reducing waste and providing a completely carbon neutral heat for the home.

George May, Chief Commercial Officer at bio-bean, commented:

“We’re excited to announce our partnership with Cawleys as our supplier across the four counties area.

“To really make a difference to our planet we must work together even in the simple act of having a cup of coffee. With coffee producers putting their grounds into the special recycling containers, Cawleys collecting the grounds and bio-bean recycling them into Coffee Logs we are ensuring a truly closed loop without losing valuable resources.”

As well as Coffee Logs, bio-bean produces biomass pellets, a carbon neutral heating source for buildings and an alternative to fossil fuels.  The bio-bean research team has also been exploring the potential of extracting bio-chemicals from coffee grounds for a range of commercial purposes.

Recycling single use takeaway cups

Disposable, single use coffee cups will also be collected by Cawleys and sorted at the company’s Materials Recycling Facility and baled ready for recycling.

Baled disposable coffee cups will then be processed through a pulper, similar to a giant food mixer, for around twenty minutes.  This process delaminates the materials and breaks it down into fibres, ready for reprocessing into other forms of packaging such as carton tubes used for gravy granules or hot chocolate.  Aluminium foil and polyethylene liners are also separated from the fibres for further recycling.

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