cooking tips & tricks

7 Ways to Use Your Coffee Grounds

This Earth Month, we’re all looking for ways to waste less at home. An easy place to start is with your morning cup of coffee. Did you know that, according to the NRDC, coffee grounds are one of the most commonly thrown-out food items in American households? It’s not that surprising given how much coffee we drink as a country: 63% of Americans drink an average of 2 cups of coffee per day, which amounts to a whopping 414 million cups every day!

Assuming the average coffee drinker uses two tablespoons of ground coffee per cup, we are tossing out 25 million pounds of coffee grounds every day. That’s one ton of coffee grounds going to waste daily!

While drinking coffee isn’t an issue, used coffee grounds, just like any other food or organics waste, break down in the landfill and produce methane, a harmful greenhouse gas. The good news is that coffee grounds have a lot more value to give us even after the last drops of coffee are gone.

Want to decrease your coffee waste and benefit the environment? Here are some of our favorite ways to use your grounds:

  1. Add a spoonful of spent coffee grounds every 4-6 weeks to fertilize your indoor house plants. NOTE: Coffee grounds are acidic, rich in nitrogen and in some cases may still contain a fair amount of caffeine, all of which can irritate/harm certain plants. Add them in moderation and, when in doubt, double check online if the plants in question benefit from acidic soil.

  2. Make your own body scrub with coconut oil and coffee grounds.

  3. Store dried coffee grounds in an open jar anywhere you want to absorb odors. Our friend Joel Gamoran recommends trying this trick for getting rid of fridge odors!

  4. Use your coffee grounds as a natural fertilizer in your garden to improve drainage, water retention, and aeration in the soil.

  5. Burn your dried coffee grounds outdoors for mosquito repellent.

  6. Put spent coffee grounds to work as an abrasive agent to help scour burnt food off of your pots and pans.

  7. If you are able to compost through your city compost collection, at your community garden drop-off, or at home, be sure to add your coffee grounds to the mix. Coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen and can help create fertile soil when they break down. Worms especially love spent coffee grounds.

For even more ideas, check out this fun list of  25 Weird Ways to Use Coffee and Coffee Grounds.

Since over 40% of food waste happens in our homes, we all have the power to make a difference by changing how we shop, store, cook, and dispose of food. Climate action starts at home, and we can all work to take a bite out of food waste. We hope this helps you rethink how you use coffee grounds in your life this Earth Month!


  • Avatar
    Julia Goldstein
    April 22, 2020 at 9:51 pm

    I always compost coffee grounds but don’t usually think of other uses. Thanks for the suggestions.

    • Avatar
      April 23, 2020 at 5:28 pm

      Hey Julia! That’s great to hear. They make for a potent addition to compost for sure. Let us know how some of these other ideas work out for you. We hope you’re doing well. Thanks for reading our blog!


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