Sustainability in Coffee: How can you reuse your coffee grounds?

From choosing who to buy coffee from to the way you brew coffee at home, you play a huge role in the sustainability of the coffee supply chain. One of the easiest and most-tangible ways for people who brew at home to make a positive impact is by keeping coffee grounds out of the landfill. Landfills produce methane gas, which contributes to climate change—a problem that is causing many issues for coffee farmers. To alleviate this global problem, here are just a few ways you can use coffee grounds at home:

  • In your garden
    Grounds provide generous amounts of phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and copper which is good for healthy soil.
  • As fertilizer
    Apply as a top-dressing to nitrogen-loving plants like lettuces, roses, and most perennials.
  • In your compost
    Add to your compost pile as green material high in nitrogen to balance with brown materials like leaves. Grounds can be used in compost-generating worm bins.
  • As a pest repellant
    Caffeinated coffee grounds are a natural insecticide, so you can use them to create slug and insect barriers.
  • If you’re crafty
    Use grounds to make coffee-scented candles, as an exfoliant in DIY face or body scrubs—or as a natural dye or watercolor paint.
Apply coffee grounds as a top-dressing to nitrogen-loving plants like lettuces, roses, and most perennials.

If you’re not into gardening or crafts, you can still keep coffee grounds out of the landfill through commercial composting. As you might imagine, we generate a lot of coffee grounds at Counter Culture between all of our labs, quality control, and coffee-loving staff. We compost these grounds, along with other compostable waste, at each of our trainings centers using local companies whenever possible—we’re still working on Los Angeles!

Many of the companies who pick up from our training centers offer home services, as well, so we’re sharing our compost partners here as a resource if you’re looking for a simple way to get started at your home or office.

We hope this information inspires you to reuse your coffee grounds in new and sustainable ways! For more suggestions on how to make your home brewing more sustainable, check out our post here.