Have you ever taken a look at your used coffee grounds and wondered how to recycle or reuse them? We certainly have!
An incredible 6 million tonnes of used coffee grounds are sent to landfill every year. As (our environmental impact is one of our top priorities (you can read all about our sustainability practices), we wanted to reduce the environmental impact of our coffee, and make sure that we are using every part of our coffee, even after it’s used in our morning cup of joe.
So, here are five of the best ways that you can recycle and reuse your coffee grounds. Some of them may surprise you!
1. Use them as fertiliser or compost
One of the easiest ways to make use of your coffee grounds is in fertiliser or compost. If you have a garden, we would recommend spreading the coffee grounds on flower beds or soil. Coffee grounds contain many minerals that plants will love, such as nitrogen, calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium and chromium. Plants such as hydrangeas or azaleas will particularly love the acidity. Furthermore, scattering coffee grounds around your plants has the added benefit of repelling insects such as slugs and snails.
You can also compost your grounds, too. Simply add them to the food scraps or garden debris in your compost heap, and it will also decompose into dark, rich compost. Some studies have found that compost that contains coffee grounds holds onto nutrients and water better, and will improve the health of your plants.
2. Use in exfoliant or soap
Coffee grounds can be rough – but when reusing them, that just makes them all the more useful! For example, you can easily make coffee scrubs and exfoliants from them. One simple way is by mixing the grounds with water or coconut oil, and using them as a body scrub. The coarse particles exfoliate the skin, and remove dirt and dead skin cells. You can also make your own lip scrub by mixing the grounds with a small amount of honey. Just pop it into a small tin or jar, and you’ve got yourself a nourishing, recycled scrub.
Finally, you can also use coffee grounds in soap. The most simple way way is to melt down a bar of glycerin soap, and then add around 40g of coffee grounds. Stir and pour into a mould, and you’ll have yourself an incredible exfoliating soap. You can read more about using coffee in homemade soaps here.
3. Use them for cleaning
The coarse texture of your grounds is good for cleaning your house as well as yourself! You can use for scouring pots and pans by mixing the coffee grounds with baking soda. Scrub as usual, and then rinse thoroughly. This is especially useful if you’re trying to avoid harsh cleaning chemicals. Just make sure that you’re not scrubbing the coffee grounds onto porous surfaces, as they can stain.
Coffee grounds can also be useful for the messy task of cleaning a fireplace. Simply scatter them onto the ash, and then clean as usual. This will help to weigh the ashes down, and prevent little ash clouds from forming. This keeps the ash from escaping from the fireplace and dirtying the rest of the room.
4. Get rid of unpleasant odours
One of the things that we love most about coffee is its rich, delicious smell. But did you know that coffee can actually get rid of other, less pleasant odours? This is because coffee contains nitrogen. When combined with carbon, it can help absorb and eliminate unpleasant smells. For example, if you’ve recently cooked a smelly ingredient such as fish, you can place a bowl of used coffee in your kitchen, and it will help to dissipate the smell faster. You can put the used grounds in your fridge or freezer to get rid of unwanted smells, too.
Another idea is to keep the grounds by the sink, and use them as a scrub to clean your hands after you’ve chopped up smelly ingredients such as garlic or onions. This will not only make your hands extremely soft, but help to get rid of the odour left on your hands too! The rich smell of coffee will definitely be more pleasant than garlic, right?
5. Spice up your cooking
Finally, you can use your grounds when cooking. One ingenious way to use them is by re-brewing the used grounds and adding the coffee to a meat marinade. This will add a delicious flavour, and it will also help to break down any toughness in the meat. This is because coffee contains natural acids and enzymes, which are two things that will naturally tenderise meat. You can also add coffee to a dry BBQ rub. The grounds will cook onto the meat and form a dark and delicious crust. We’ve actually got a recipe for a BBQ rub here!
Furthermore, if you are making a recipe that calls for coffee, but you don’t want too much of a caffeine kick, you can re-brew the grounds instead of using fresh ones. Check out some of our fabulous coffee recipes for inspiration!
These were just five of our favourite ways to reuse and recycle used coffee grounds. If we all use these tips, together we can reduce the shocking amount of coffee grounds that are ending up in landfill. Which tip did you like best?
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