March 16, 2019

Whether you use a coffee pot to brew your morning cup of coffee or make cold brew coffee like we do used coffee grounds can increase in abundance. So what can you do with all those grounds?  Many articles have been written about possible uses from some well known suggestions such as using it in the garden as fertilizer to creating a paste to some lesser known uses such as eliminate the appearance of cellulite.  

At Fifty5 Rivers we are concerned about the impact our business has on the environment which is why we focus on having compostable packaging all the way down to the adhesive used on our labels. So once you’ve brewed a cup of your favorite coffee or made a batch of our Cold Brew Coffee what are useful ways to re-purpose your coffee grounds? 

We’ve compiled a list from numerous sources such as Healthline.com, who has researched the topic to give you some ideas and the Farmers Almanac. Keep in mind we have not used them all and cannot vouch for the effectiveness.

Used coffee grounds are great fertilizer for your garden- They contain several key minerals for plant growth including nitrogen, calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium and chromium.

While in the garden, coffee grounds also attract earthworms which are also great for your garden.  It has also been reported in several articles that mixing a little used grounds with carrot seeds increases the quality and size of your produce, making it a “Steroid” for your carrot crop. The Farmers Almanac suggest even using them around your houseplant to help with the pH balance as well as increasing nitrogen and aerating the soil.

When it’s not growing season, used coffee grounds can be added to your composting bin to be used at a later date. A study by the Institute of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Malaya found that compost made with coffee grounds and kitchen waste was richer in nutrients than compost made with waste alone.

Another article authored by multiple sources reported on a comparison of batches of compost including varying amounts of used coffee grounds (0, 10, 20, and 40%).  The results found that the batch containing 40% coffee grounds produced the fewest greenhouse gas emissions and best quality compost. Healthline.com recommends including grass clippings, leaves, bark, shredded newspaper, brush, herbs, egg shells, stale bread and fruit and vegetable trimmings to your composts as well but that you should avoid composting meat and fish scraps, dairy products, diseased plants, grease and oils.

The Farmer’s Almanac sites coffee grounds as a natural de-icer. The state that you can sprinkle leftover coffee grounds on your freshly shoveled walk or driveway to hel melt the ice and it’s a natural and environmentally friendly way to add more traction underfoot.

Many sources sight used coffee grounds as a good Pest/Animal Deterrent-- to keep cats, slugs and snails away from your garden

Coffee grounds are great for removing stuck on food and tough grease when cleaning cooking pans.

Freshen your fridge or freezer by placing DRIED coffee grounds in a container on one of the shelves in your refrigerator/freezer. Watch for mold if you use damp grounds and replace with fresh grounds if this occurs.

Sink Bombs--to freshen the smells in your kitchen sink…..

NOTE:  Some people have voiced concern about possible stopping up the pipes. We have not tried this just sharing what some people have done.  Here is a link for making them. The Farmers Almanac also suggested cleaning and deodorizing your garbage disposal as a possible your for your grounds but does advise that this should only be done on occasion (NOT daily).

Air Freshener

If you love the smell of coffee shops use coffee ground to recreate the same smell in your own home. These instructions do not really specify if they are used grounds or unused grounds.

Hand Scrub

Eliminate odors from prepping onions and garlic by rubbing used grinds on your hands. This helps soften hands too!  The Farmers Almanac reports that it is a good exfoliant for the skin. Mix ½ cup coffee grounds and ½ cup sugar (any kind) with ¼ cup coconut oil in a small jar with a lid. Work into wet skin and rinse.

Multiple mentions have been made in reference to using coffee grounds as a Dye for various things:

Do you have scratches on Dark wood furniture?

Coffee grounds can be used to lessen the visibility of these scratches.

When we first heard about using it as a dye for Easter eggs or paper crafts, our first thought was dark brown eggs? And not the chocolate kind.  Then we saw reference to it on Farmers Almanac that states soaking watercolor paper or Easter eggs with coffee grounds gives it an “antique” sepia appearance.

Coffee-colored Hair: Massaging coffee ground into you hair while washing helps make your hair smooth and shiny.  The grounds will also help darken your hair. (“Only recommended for brunettes and grey-haired people”)

No More Messy Fireplace

Sprinkling coffee grounds on the bottom of the fireplace helps keep the ashes from flying around as you scoop them.

And lastly…..Coffee grounds to reduce the appearance of cellulite?  As seen on Dr. Oz……

We definitely learned about a few more options for what to do with used coffee grounds.  Let us know if you have another way you re-purpose your grounds!

Works cited: 

Adi, A J, and Z M Noor. “Waste Recycling: Utilization of Coffee Grounds and Kitchen Waste in Vermicomposting.” Bioresource Technology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Jan. 2009, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18752936.

Higgins, Edward. “10 Clever Uses For Used Coffee Grounds.” Farmers' Almanac, May 2015, www.farmersalmanac.com/10-smart-uses-for-used-coffee-grounds-21372.

McDonell, RD, Kayal. “16 Creative Uses for Used Coffee Grounds.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 12 Apr. 2018, www.healthline.com/nutrition/uses-for-coffee-grounds#section1.

N Following Follow, Madison. “How to Make a Natural Coffee Air Freshener.” Snapguide, 2018, snapguide.com/guides/make-a-natural-coffee-air-freshener/.

Nuhu, Abdulmumin A. “Bioactive Micronutrients in Coffee: Recent Analytical Approaches for Characterization and Quantification.” ISRN Nutrition, Hindawi Publishing Corporation, 22 Jan. 2014, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4045301/.

Santos, Cátia, et al. “Effect of Different Rates of Spent Coffee Grounds (SCG) on Composting Process, Gaseous Emissions and Quality of End-Product.” Waste Management (New York, N.Y.), U.S. National Library of Medicine, Jan. 2017, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28340969.