How to Recycle Your Coffee Grounds

I was recently astounded to hear that the Starbucks Coffee Company creates the weight of four 747 aircraft in spent coffee grounds every year. With the average person drinking at least one cup of coffee every day it’s hard even imagine just how much coffee is being ground and brewed.

If you’ve ever been into a Starbucks store you’ll see that they package up their spent coffee grounds – those that have been brewed and discarded – and leave them for people to pick up free near the front door to their store.

Starbucks do this because they know that these grounds can be recycled, but so many people walk past them without giving it a second thought. I’m sure that many people (including me) walk past without the first clue about how to use them effectively in the garden and around the home.

So that’s why I sat down to do some research to find out some foolproof methods of using coffee grounds around the house.  I was genuinely surprised by how useful this coffee by-product can be.

Here are some ways you can recycle your coffee grounds and put them to good use around the house:

Add to your Compost Pile

Because coffee grounds are organic they can be dug in to your compost pile. The composting ecosystem will love it, just let them cool down first before you start digging them in.  If you use an Urban Composter™ in your home or apartment it works well breaking down coffee grounds.

 

As a Garden Fertiliser

Coffee grinds are rich in nitrogen and other trace elements.  Coffee grounds are best suited to plants which enjoy increased acidity in the soil, so your roses will love it. Sprinkle it around your roses or dig it in for a slow-release action. Other plants that will love your coffee grounds are Carrots, Camellias and Evergreen trees. Now here’s a good tip for growing Mushrooms at home. Mushrooms particularly love coffee grounds so they make a great companion plant for a coffee drinker. Add mushroom plugs to a tub of grounds and put them in a dark place to watch them grow.

So now that we’ve covered the garden, here are a few other ways you might want to use coffee grounds around the home:

Cleaning with Coffee Grounds

Coffee has an abrasive effect so it can be a really good substitute for stainless-steel pads getting grease, grime and burnt on food from pots and pans.  You can also use your grounds to clean your drains instead of caustic chemicals like bleach or Draino. But a word of caution here, you do need to be careful not to overdo it; you don’t want to clog your pipes. Tip an espresso cup full of grounds into the sink and wash it down with boiling water.  The grounds will have a cleaning effect as they swirl with the hot water through your pipes. You can certainly repeat this process if required.

Clearing the Air

Everyone loves the smell of freshly brewed coffee, but coffee grounds are a great substitute for baking soda to eliminate odours in the fridge.  Just add your grinds to a cup and place somewhere in the back of your fridge and you’ll find those strange smells disappear.

Coffee as a Dye

By boiling up your used coffee grinds you can create an organic dye which can be used to colour paper or cardboard.  The dye can also be used to soften or touch-up scratches in wood furniture.

As you can see there are plenty of ways you can use Coffee Grounds around the home. The next time you make a cup of coffee at home, consider recycling your grounds instead of sending them off to landfill.

Do you have a use for coffee grounds that we haven’t mentioned here? Why not share it with our Green Home and Garden community by leaving a comment below?

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