Being kind to the planet is a common theme these days, and rightly so. From ambitious programs to small-scale endeavors, there are thousands of ways to make everyday choices that are kinder to us personally and to the world at large. Coffee plays a two-fold role in this endeavor, as it is often around a shared coffee pot that we discuss our hopes for each other and for the world, and the coffee grounds provide a natural way to get creative around the house and garden with small actions for personal and earth health.
We thought we’d gather some of our favorite ways to recycle leftover coffee and coffee grounds after the brew. The following simple to implement ideas could provide grounds (pun intended) for discussion with the kids while they’re home for the Holidays. Maybe they could each adopt a way to reuse your old coffee grounds and vow to put it into practice throughout the year. They might even surprise you with innovative ideas of their own and turn your home-brewed project into a business venture. Ya never know! Incidentally, if they or you get inspired and ambitious but do not have enough leftover coffee or coffee grounds for your expanded project, many coffee shops gladly donate their used grounds upon request.
Here, then, are 15 simple ways to recycle coffee or coffee grounds at home in 2019 and thereafter. You may know some of them, or all of them. Either way, may this be a one-stop source of inspiration for good java vibes.
Seedlings – Stir used coffee grounds right into the soil when planting seedlings in the spring. This will provide a healthy boost of nitrogen.
Gardener’s Soap – Add 1/3 to ½ cup of coffee grounds to a melted bar of glycerin soap. Reshape in a mold. A muffin tin will do just fine. Use to wash and scrub your hands after working in the yard.
Scratches on Furniture – Repair scratches in dark wood furniture with a mixture of 1 TSP olive oil and 1 TBSP coffee grounds. Apply with a cotton cloth. Wipe clean.
Fridge and Freezer Deodorizer – Dry used grounds on a cloth or paper towel. Scoop them up with a spoon and place them in a small glass jar. Place in a corner of the fridge or freezer, uncovered, to capture odors.
Garbage Disposal – Save coffee grounds after each fresh brew. Lightly oil a small muffin tin and fill the cups with the saved grounds. Freeze. Remove coffee pucks from tin and keep in the freezer. Once a week, drop a puck in your garbage disposal and turn it on. This will help dislodge food and keep the disposal smelling fresh.
Washing Machine – Wash a batch of dark red, brown or black clothing as usual. Run used grounds through another brew cycle. Pour directly over the clothes. Run a second wash cycle. Your darks will stay dark longer.
Flowerbeds – Mix chopped orange and lemon peel with used coffee grounds. Sprinkle liberally about your flowerbeds and garden. Most cats think this makes the soil most uninviting for one’s personal business.
Hand Deodorizer – Save used coffee grounds in a small jar by the kitchen sink, or in the fridge. Use a small amount to scrub your hands after handling onions, shallots, garlic or fish. Rinse.
Hair – Redheads and brunettes, bring out the shine with coffee. Steep used coffee grounds in 1 ½ cup hot water for at least 15 minutes. Wash hair as usual. Rinse. Then work the coffee grounds and water right through your hair. Rinse well.
Your Dog’s Hair – Save up 2 cups of used coffee grounds. At the end of a good doggie bath, rub the grounds into your pup’s fur, avoiding the face. Use more or less depending on the size of your dog. Rinse well. Coffee is a great, natural dog coat conditioner, but fleas don’t think it’s so great at all.
Cake and Chili – In the mood for chocolate cake or a hearty bowl of chili? Substitute strong-brewed coffee for some or all of the water. Not only does this enhance flavor, but it also adds antioxidants to your sweet treat or meal.
Facial Toner – Make time for a bit of self-pampering. Pour enough milk into used coffee grounds to form a paste. Apply to your face, rubbing gently for a few moments, but not too close to your eyes. Sit with a good book for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse thoroughly. Coffee’s natural antioxidants and the scrubbing motion are an excellent toner for healthy skin.
Kitchen Scrubber – Save old coffee grounds in a jar near the sink. Scoop out with a dish cloth and use to scrub food from dishes and kitchen counters. Coffee grounds are not as harsh as commercial scouring powders, and much healthier for the earth when rinsed down the drain.
Compost Pail – Sprinkle used coffee grounds to your kitchen compost pail every time you discard food scraps to help keep the contents odor-free. Earth worms will love you once the contents are added to the outdoor pile. This is a perfect use for grounds that have already been recycled in some of the ways suggested above.
Fireplace – Before cleaning the fireplace, sprinkled dried, used coffee grounds over the ashes to help weigh them down. Then, sweep up the ashes without clouds of dust rising to your face.
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