We’re always on the lookout 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 grounds every day. That’s literal tons of coffee going to waste every day!
While drinking coffee isn’t an issue, used coffee grounds, just like any other food or organic waste, breaks down in the landfill and produces 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:
7 uses for coffee grounds
- Add a spoonful of spent coffee grounds every 4-6 weeks to fertilize your indoor house plants. NOTE: Coffee is acidic, rich in nitrogen, and your grounds may still contain a fair amount of caffeine. All of this 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.
- Make your own body scrub.
- 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!
- Use them as a natural fertilizer in your garden to improve drainage, water retention, and aeration in the soil.
- Burn your dried grounds outdoors for mosquito repellent.
- Put them to work as an abrasive agent to help scour burnt food off of your pots and pans.
- 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 grounds to the mix. They’re 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!