On Earth Day—and every day, really—it’s important to find ways to be more eco-friendly. For coffee lovers, an easy way to do that is to buy responsibly with sustainable coffee techniques and purchasing from fair trade coffee brands endorsed by the Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee. Another tip: brew coffee at home in a coffee maker with reusable filters and save the beans for a variety of coffee grounds uses. Select specialty brewers like our 10-Cup Space-Saving Combo Brewer comes with a reusable single-serve filter so that you can enjoy delicious coffee while also helping the environment.
A third Earth-friendly habit is to recycle your grounds! There are so many ways to give them a second life and reduce your environmental impact. Curious? See below for some surprising ideas for used coffee grounds. (One thing to note is that coffee grounds can be hazardous if eaten by pets, so bear that in mind if using them in places pets can access.)
GROUNDS FOR SUCCESS:
1. Coffee Grounds for Plants
Many composters will be aware that coffee grounds in the garden can add a hefty dose of nitrogen to compost (plus paper coffee filters can go right into the pile with them). This can help raise soil temperature and discourage weeds, as well as repel some garden pests.
Putting ground coffee in soil can add helpful organic matter and acidity. Coffee grounds for plants like roses, camellias, blueberries, and azaleas can help them flourish and thrive in acidic soil. Coffee grounds in soil are great for garden-friendly earthworms, too. Just be careful not to over-add grounds, as that could actually harm some plants.
2. DIY Coffee Scrub
Gritty coffee grounds are also great for scrubbing dirty dishware and sinks. If you have pots and pans with stuck-on stains or clinging grease, scoop a few teaspoons of dry coffee grounds onto a thin cloth and use it to wipe the grime away.
While you’re in the kitchen, coffee grounds can also be used as a DIY scrub to remove dead skin or potent food smells from your hands. You can also put used grounds down the drain and then follow them with a kettle of boiling water to help remove unpleasant sink odors.
3. Kitchen Odor Absorber
Aficionados know that the only thing that comes close to coffee's taste is its aroma. If you need to deodorize your pantry, refrigerator, or even your car, an open container of fresh coffee grounds can work wonders. Or tie some grounds up in a bit of fabric to absorb nearby unpleasant odors.
4. Skin Care and Hair Care
Coffee grounds can actually provide a beauty boost as well. Stimulate your hair follicles and promote hair growth by gently massaging a bit of used coffee grounds into your scalp for a minute or so. Rinse out with cool water, and then shampoo and condition like you usually do.
Or, mix equal parts coffee and olive oil and apply in a circular motion as a face mask! The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties can help your skin glow. You can also try massaging it onto areas where cellulite is a problem, as it can help tighten the skin.
5. Furniture Repair
Give new meaning to the term “coffee table” by using grounds to repair wood furniture scratches. Mix the grounds with a little bit of water, then rub the resulting paste into scratches. After 10 minutes, wipe off any excess.
6. Dyeing Clothes
You can dye clothes, fabrics, and yarn—or add an antiqued look—with hot coffee! Some say that adding salt or vinegar can help lock in the dye. You can also use coffee grounds to dye Easter eggs or for other paper crafts or art.
7. Fireplace Cleaner
For a convenient fireplace cleaner, mix coffee grounds with the ashes for a less dusty cleanup!
8. Pie Weights
Used coffee grounds can also make a great pie weight. When blind baking a crust from scratch, use coffee grounds as you would dried beans to hold the crust in shape during baking… Just make sure to add a layer of foil or parchment paper so the grounds don’t touch the crust.
9. Meat Tenderizer
Use coffee grounds as a meat tenderizer! Rub coffee grounds on steak or another cut of meat to soften and add moisture, and also add great flavor.
10. Add to Live Bait
Some anglers believe that coffee is a fish attractant, so they recommend putting bait worms in a mixture of soil and coffee grounds prior to fishing.
However you choose to put your used coffee grounds to work, thank you, coffee fans, for reusing and recycling as much as you can!
Celebrate the endless possibilities for used coffee grounds as boundless as your imagination. By exploring these sustainable coffee uses, you not only minimize waste, but also contribute to a greener planet. From fertilizing your garden with coffee grounds for plants and reviving your skin with a DIY coffee scrub to repairing furniture and tenderizing meats, the uses of coffee grounds prove to be ever versatile. So with every cup brewed and every batch of grounds repurposed, make a positive impact on the environment through ethical coffee drinking. If you like to learn more about coffee beans and their origin, check our blog on the Difference Between Single Origin and Coffee Blends. Together, we can toast to a brighter future and a cleaner, greener world. Cheers to the power of coffee grounds and the dedication of eco-conscious coffee lovers everywhere listed below!