Charlie’s Coffee & Company


Charlie’s Coffee and Company was established in 2008 by barista, Charlie, who wanted to bring great coffee to the people of St. Albans and achieve her dream of opening a café.

From the back of a three-wheeled Piaggio van, Charlie began serving speciality coffee to the early risers at St Albans train station. A decade on, the coffee van is in the same place serving commuters and community alike, but Charlie also has a coffee shop to cope with demand. Charlie’s Coffee Shop is in the heart of the London Road neighbourhood, a recently regenerated side of St Albans.

Charlie is passionate about coffee and the environment. It was important to her that waste generated by her independent coffee shop was managed sustainably – ensuring as few as possible resources end up in landfill. Cawleys partnered with Charlie’s Coffee and Company to recycle coffee grounds generated by her shop and van.

Charlie comments:

“I have worked hard over the years to make good business choices so that my business operates with strong integrity and morals. My sourcing policies and environmental commitments have always been really important to me.”

Cawleys complete coffee recycling package

Teaming up with bio-bean, an award winning clean technology company, Cawleys has launched a complete coffee recycling programme including single use cups and grounds.

Cawleys collects used grounds from Charlie’s coffee shop and van. The baristas store the used grounds in specialist containers, separating them from other waste streams which are collected as part of the company’s recycling rounds.

Charlie’s small, but perfectly formed van, measures a tiny one metre by two but managing to store the coffee waste isn’t a problem. The waste coffee grounds are stored in the van each morning by Charlie and transferred regularly to the shop where it is then stored in the specialist containers.

“If you invest time into thinking it all through and making it easy to manage, then recycling takes no more time than throwing something into landfill. It just takes thought and commitment,” adds Charlie.

Cawleys collects the coffee grounds, providing an efficient central storage point. The grounds are transported to bio-bean, who then use the waste resource to create Coffee Logs. Coffee Logs burn like wood but for longer and at a higher temperature than real wood, making them an excellent domestic fuel source which can be used in stoves and chimeneas.

Recycling coffee helps reduce greenhouse gases, diverts waste away from landfill and gives your latte a useful second life. Each carbon neutral Coffee Log is made from the grounds of 25 cups of coffee and contains about 20 per cent more energy than wood. bio-bean’s life cycle assessment indicates that sending used coffee grounds to bio-bean produces 60 per cent less CO2 emissions than sending them to landfill.

It was important to Charlie to partner with a local company that shared her values:

“Once I’d spoken to Cawleys I didn’t compare them to anyone else. They were friendly, offered the services I wanted and were willing to work with me to get everything set up efficiently.”

Cawley’s track record working with Canary Wharf to set up their ‘Clean Coffee Zone’ and delivering an efficient coffee recycling programme, was an attractive quality to Charlie.

The perfect circular economy

Charlie’s Coffee and Company is an excellent example of closed loop recycling. Charlie’s sells bio-bean logs in store, some of which will be made from the shops own coffee waste. By Autumn 2018, Charlie will have recycled over a tonne of used coffee grounds.

Working with Cawleys and bio-bean, Charlie’s Coffee and Company can ensure it operates with care across all areas of its business, even those that aren’t customer facing. Charlie adds:

“Waste management for businesses is run behind the scenes, it’s not talked about and it’s not glamorous.  It’s rare that consumers would ever ask who collects our business waste. I can’t wait for the day that they do! I want to be able to hold my head high and respond to their question in the way I respond to where we get our coffee and cakes from, with pride.”

Creating a second life use is considered the ultimate solution for any waste material, and under this new partnership with bio-bean, coffee grounds from across Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire can now be collected and recycled into Coffee Logs.

“There’s been a lot of team-work to get things off the ground, but I’ve been really honoured to work with people that are so approachable and friendly. Who knew, waste management could be such fun! “concludes Charlie.

You’d like to see Charlie’s coffee recycling work in action you can find her on:

Instagram: charliescoffeeandcompany