8 Smart Ways to Recycle Used Coffee Grounds

What are used coffee grounds good for?

Coffee is the most enjoyed drink by many people worldwide.

In this article, we are going to talk about used coffee grounds uses.

A study by the International Coffee Organization (ICO) has shown that coffee is consumed the most in Finland where coffee lovers drink around 12kg per person every year. Other countries with a huge number of coffee drinkers include Norway, Iceland, Denmark, and the Netherlands, followed by Sweden. Brazil is the leader in the production of coffee, followed by Vietnam.

Coffee consumption by country

(Source: International Coffee Organization BBC)

As you can see, these are countries that experience long winters and coffee is the best drink to keep people active and energized. However, many coffee drinkers are yet to realize that after consuming the morning cup, they can still recycle used coffee grounds.

Coffee grounds can be used for various purposes around the home, garden, as well as for your beauty routine. Unfortunately, people throw away the used grounds after brewing.

After reading this article, you will regret having thrown tons of used grounds since you started drinking this popular beverage.

For those who do not brew a lot of coffee at home, you can still get coffee grounds at the coffee shops.

Note that our list may not be exhaustive since there are still plenty of ways we may not mention that you know. You can add that in the comment section.

Let’s get started.

How to Recycle Used Coffee Grounds

8 Smart Ways to Reuse Coffee Grounds

1. Old Coffee Grounds As Fertilizer

A plant grown on a cup.
This article shares ways to recycle coffee grounds

Used grounds can be used to fertilize the garden. After an extended period of growing plants in your garden, the soils are left without the needed nutrients to nourish your plants.

Besides, plants consume a lot of nutrients before they mature and hence the need for continuous addition of fertilizer. And this is especially important if you grow acid-loving plants such as hydrangeas, roses, camellias, etc.

You don’t have to purchase expensive fertilizer every often because coffee grounds have the essential minerals that facilitate optimal plant growth such as iron, magnesium, calcium, nitrogen, etc. Some studies suggest that used coffee grounds can prevent the soil from contamination.

How to use coffee grounds as fertilizer

It’s easy. Just mix the used coffee grounds with brown leaves or dead grass clippings and spread them on the soil surrounding your plants.

You can also mix the coffee grounds with lime or wood ash to make the fertilizer powerful to promote blooming and fruiting of your plants.

2. As Insects and Pests Repellant

Used coffee grounds as insects repellent

Although the caffeine content in coffee keeps human beings active and energized, it’s not friendly to some insects and pests- they contain harmful substances that keep away pests and insects including caterpillars, snails, fruit flies, beetles, etc. For that reason, you can spread used coffee grounds around your plants to keep them safe from killer pests.

Besides, old coffee grounds can repel mosquitos and beetles. In fact, the smell of coffee is a good repellant for ants.

Another way you can use old coffee grounds as a repellent is to soak them in water the whole night then use the extracted coffee as a foliar spray. The foliar spray is said to be powerful to repel harmful insects like caterpillars and critters.

3. Use Old Coffee Grounds to Beautify Your Skin

This will shock those who have been buying expensive products not knowing that used coffee grounds can give them the beautiful skin they are looking for.

Old coffee grounds can be used as a powerful exfoliating body scrub. When used properly, they can get rid of dirt and dead skin cells.

How to use coffee grounds as exfoliate

Nothing complicated since you just mix old grounds with warm water or your preferred natural oil- whether coconut oil or whatever oil you use, then scrub your skin with the mixture using your hands. You can scrub the whole body from the face to toes.

For ladies, you can mix old coffee grounds with some honey to exfoliate your lips. Some studies have shown that the caffeine in coffee can protect the skin against damage by the sun.

What’s more, it can also boost the circulation of blood hence nourishing the skin.

4. Used Grounds for Defusing Bad Smell

Some people have used coffee grounds to eliminate odors as well.

As we have mentioned that coffee grounds contain essential nutrients for optimal plant growth, these essential compounds (nitrogen) are also helpful to eliminate odors.

When mixed with carbon, nitrogen gas can eliminate bad smell. This is especially important for people who store foods in the freezer. Just place some used coffee grounds in a plate on the freezer to defuse bad odors from spoiled foods.

If you struggle with smelly shoes, you can use old coffee grounds as air fresheners. Just put the grounds in the old socks and tie them completely then put them in your shoes or any place then needs some freshening.

After cutting garlic or onions you can get rid of the smell from your hands using old coffee grounds.

5. Coffee Grids as a Natural Dye

You must have seen how coffee tends to stain white clothes. Old coffee grounds can be used as a natural dye for hair, cotton, paper, linen, etc. As we already know that commercial hair dyes are made with chemicals that are harmful to human health. You can use coffee grounds as a natural substitute for harsh chemicals and still get the results you would with commercial products.

If you want to get darker hair, you can also use coffee grounds as well.

Just rewet the used coffee grounds, and massage them into your hair or use them to dye paper.

6. Coffee Grounds as Compost or Humus

Boost your plants’ health by adding compost from used coffee grounds.

As said earlier, you can use old coffee grounds to make natural fertilizer immediately you are done with brewing. You can also compose your coffee grounds and use it as compost or manure- you already know how compost or manure can be beneficial to the soil in your yard or garden.

In fact, mixing coffee grounds with kitchen waste can give your soil rich nutrients for optimum plant growth.

In another study, compost containing 0, 10, 20, and 40 percent coffee grounds were tested and the one with 40% was said to be environmentally safe than the ones with fewer coffee grounds.

Meat, dairy products, oils, and fish may not make the best compost so it would be better to use brown leaves, herbs, fruit, vegetable trimmings, and grass clippings.

7. Grounds as an Anti-Aging Agent

Although other parts of your body may contain enough fat tissues, the skin close to your eyes is gentle and with no fat tissues. For that reason, it shows aging signs fast.

Having dark circles around your eyes may not be a sign of aging but it may be caused by other factors such as delicate blood veins, insufficient blood circulation, etc.

Coffee is rich in antioxidants and caffeine compounds that can get rid of the dark signs under-eye circles.

Besides, caffeine can boost the movement of blood throughout the body which can nourish your body with the required minerals and nutrients to keep off aging signs.

Just mix water or any natural oil with the coffee grounds to form a strong mixture, then smear the mixture on the skin surrounding your eyes and keep it for something before you washed it away. Do this once every day for a couple of days.

8. Used Coffee Grounds to Treat Pet Fleas

If you own pets, you must have seen how expensive it is to treat fleas. Well, you can buy products on the market to chess away these fleas, however, most of these products are made with chemicals with are sometimes not pet-healthy.

And as you already know, fleas and coffee are two fierce enemies so you can use this natural product to remove and treat pet fleas.

With used grounds, there is nothing complicated. You just smear the grounds on the pet’s hair, wait for a few minutes and then wash the grounds and dry your pet.

In fact, coffee grounds are said to make the pet’s fur darker and the coat smoother.

If you find that this method of removing fleas isn’t working, you can always seek help and alternative treatment from your vet.

Bonus Tip #1: Give Your Pots and Pans a New Look With Used Coffee Grounds

Yes, coffee grounds have a rough texture and so they can make a good scrub for your pans and pots.

Just add the coffee grounds to the pot or pan you want to clean and then scrub the same way you do while cleaning the utensils. Once done, rinse and dry your appliances. It’s that easy.

Bonus Tip #2: As Meat Softener

You can soften the tough muscle fibers and proteins in the meat with used grounds. Yes, coffee grounds can make your crash tough fibers and make them soft for consumption.

As we know, acids and salts are mostly used to tenderize meat. On the other hand, coffee has natural acids and enzymes which can effectively soften meat. In fact, tenderizing meat with coffee can enhance the flavor.

Just put the used grounds to meat for around two hours before cooking. This will allow the coffee to be absorbed in the meat and hence making it crispy, dark, and tasty.

Another way to tenderize meat with coffee is to brew the used grounds again, wait for them to cool, and then tenderize the meat in the freezer for around two days before cooking.

Bonus Tip #3: Boost Hair Growth and Remove Buildup

The market is saturated with plenty of products that claim to promote faster hair growth however; these products have some side effects. Coffee grounds are a natural exfoliate that promotes hair growth (due to the caffeine components) and removes buildup and dead skin cells. Besides, caffeine promotes efficient blood circulation which promotes hair growth as well.

Just massage your hair and scalp with used coffee grounds for at least 3 minutes before shampooing it then wash out the grounds as you normally do. Repeat this twice every week for around 3 to 4 weeks.

Bonus Tip #4: Used Grounds for Healthy Mushroom Growth

Mushrooms are funny plants that are selective with the areas they grow. To grow them, you need to follow the steps required including the application of a substrate and this is where used grounds can be useful.

Coffee grounds contain nutrients that are great for mushrooms to grow. Besides, coffee grounds go through the sterilization process during brewing which could boost the growth of mushroom.

Bonus Tip #5: Scrub Hard-to-Clean Surfaces

Although there are abrasive products you can use to tackle hard-to-clean surfaces, they tend to have some side effects. Coffee grounds can tackle hard-to-clean surfaces and have antibacterial components.

Use coffee grounds to scrub, polis, and clean your cookware and grill but no on porous material.

Should You Consume Used Coffee Grounds?

There are plenty of health benefits to drinking coffee. Studies suggest that coffee can combat type 2 diabetes and other types of cancer. However, doctors have cautioned people against consuming coffee grounds because they contain cafestol and kahweol which raises cholesterol to blood. All these substances are filtered during the brewing process but are retained in the grounds.

In a study consuming about 7 grams of coffee grounds daily after three weeks showed an increase in cholesterol in the blood. Don’t worry we have mentioned that you can soften meat so you might wonder how safe they are, but as long as you don’t eat them regularly.

Final Words

While coffee is good for waking you up in the morning and energizing you for the day ahead, most people throw the used grounds after brewing. Nevertheless, there are many smart ways to recycle them.

Coffee grounds contain nutrients that can promote plant growth and repel insects, and treat fleas in your pets.

Which recycling tricks amazed you on our list? Have you ever used any or all of the ways we have shared here? Let us know that in the comment section.

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Sophia Green

Sophia is a long time coffee enthusiast and blogger, so the project started naturally five years ago. You can find useful information about coffee types, plantations, equipment and even tips and tricks or fun facts.

View all posts by Sophia Green →

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