What To Do With Used Coffee Grounds
Here at Zavida Coffee Roasters, we strive to bring you the coffee you love in an ecologically-sustainable way. We’re always looking for ways to take our environmentally-friendly approach to coffee to the next level, whether it be sourcing our beans from Rainforest Alliance-certified farms, using 100% recycled cardboard for our shipping boxes, or encouraging our beloved customers to find ways to reduce their personal waste at home! Our minds are constantly brewing with new ideas and there’s no time like the present to share some with you, so that you might be inspired to extend the life of your used coffee grounds. For more information on Zavida’s ecological impact, and what we’re doing to minimize our carbon footprint, check out our blog post on the topic.
Although we don’t recommend recycling your used coffee grounds to brew a second cup, there are many ways to put your grounds to good use around the house. Not only does reusing coffee grounds keep organic waste out of the landfill, but it saves money too! Here are just some of the many ways that you can repurpose this all-natural byproduct in your garden, in your personal beauty routine, and while cleaning:
in the Garden
Research on the use of coffee grounds in gardening has found that the bacteria and fungus which grows on coffee grounds can help keep harmful, disease-causing bacteria away from your plants. To achieve this protective effect, spread a thin layer of grounds over the top of your soil; be sure your layer isn’t too thick, so the coffee doesn’t block moisture from the soil. You should avoid also spreading coffee on soil where you’re growing plants from seed; it can interfere with the germination process!
Throwing your grounds in your compost heap after you’re done making your cup of coffee is a much more environmentally-friendly destination than the trash. Coffee grounds add green matter to your compost, attracting valuable decomposers like fungi, insects, and earthworms. After a few months in the compost heap, coffee grounds break down and release the valuable nutrients — like nitrogen — that our plants love. Make sure you wait for the grounds to cool off before you toss them into your compost bin, and try not to overload the pile with coffee grounds — about 20% grounds is the sweet spot.
IN YOUR SELF-CARE ROUTINE
Using your coffee grounds as an exfoliator in a homemade body scrub is a great way to help scrub away dead skin cells and leave your skin feeling soft, smooth, and energized. The recipe is super simple: mix your coffee grounds with an equal amount of brown or white sugar, then add melted coconut oil until the mixture comes together into a texture that works for you. Optionally, you can also add a pinch of cinnamon or a few drops of vanilla extract to add an essence that will leave you feeling and smelling sweet.
Coffee is rich in antioxidants, which can be absorbed both through consumption and through absorption. By incorporating coffee into your self-care routine, you can benefit from all the incredible antioxidants left over in the beans after brewing. A face mask made with coffee grounds will leave your skin feeling tighter and more radiant after use. Mix your grounds with some cocoa powder and heavy cream (or your alternative milk of choice), and apply to your face for a DIY beauty treatment. Play around with the quantity of each ingredient until you find a texture that works for you. Though coffee grounds are a great exfoliant, be careful to use a light touch to not overly irritate the sensitive skin on your face and around your eyes. If you’re particularly acne-prone,
There are few things better than waking up to the smell of coffee brewing, so why not bring that scent into the shower with you? You can add coffee grounds to soap base — available online and at many craft and hobby stores — to make your own coffee soap! The grounds will act as a light exfoliant, and the antioxidants and caffeine will be absorbed through your skin, helping you to feel awake, refreshed, and ready for the day ahead. Adding vanilla extract for a warmer scent, or coffee extract in addition to the grounds for an even stronger essence of java are both optional, but recommended!
For your hair
Coffee grounds can remove buildup from your scalp when you’re in the shower. Just sprinkle a little in your hair to break up residue and slough away any dead skin around your roots before you shampoo and condition in the shower. The light acidity of coffee grounds can also help bring your scalp’s pH back into balance, helping your hair to stay smooth and shiny.
IN YOUR CLEANING ROUTINE
The abrasiveness of used coffee grounds can help loosen residue on surfaces. The grounds aren't harsh like other chemicals, so they won't damage your countertops. Sprinkle them over surfaces before scrubbing with a wet and soapy sponge or cloth to handle your tough stains or build-up. We recommend trying this out on a discreet, small section of your countertops first, to ensure you don’t inadvertently leave any scratches or other marks.
REPAIR SCRATCHED FURNITURE
You can make a thick paste with coffee grounds and water to rub out scratches in wood furniture. The longer you leave the paste on top of the scratch, the darker the coffee will stain the bare wood. It can be helpful to try this out on a non-visible section of your furniture first, so you don’t accidentally stain the scratch too dark. Once you’ve reached the desired finish, simply wipe the spot down with a damp cloth to get rid of any lingering grounds. Good as new, without any toxic wood stain fumes anywhere!
Coffee grounds work wonders on stubborn odors. Try leaving some in a small, open bowl in the fridge to help cut out food odors, or in your living room for a subtle café essence. You can also use whole beans for this purpose, but grounds work just as well. Allow the coffee to dry out before you leave the bowl in a damp space, so as to not invite any mould.
'Salt' the road
You can use coffee grounds instead of salt to de-ice and de-snow your driveway throughout the winter months. Say goodbye to lugging heavy bags of road salt home from the store, you can take advantage of the coarse ground beans on your walkway or under your tires to avoid spinning out. Just like with some road salts, be sure to keep an eye on your pets if they’re nearby — coffee grounds can be toxic to dogs when consumed.
Instead of throwing away what’s left in the coffee pot once you’ve got your cup of joe, you can easily give your used coffee grounds a second life through cleaning, beauty and gardening options. With a little creative thinking, the options are endless! We hope that our list of ways to reuse your grounds has inspired you to reduce landfill waste in your life, wherever possible. Zavida has a wide variety of coffee flavours, roasts, and beans for you to choose from, so you can personalize your coffee experience each morning before using the leftovers in the myriad ways we’ve presented here. You can browse our complete collection here.