7 Creative ways to recycle used coffee grounds

Coffee is without doubt the world’s most drunk drink… It’s estimated that 2 billion cups of coffee are consumed every single day across the globe. Most of the coffee used to produce these drinks we brew up with ground beans and once we’ve done the necessary, we chuck the used grinds away. But, is it possible to recycle used coffee grounds?

Around 6 million tonnes of used coffee grounds are sent to landfill every year. We don’t know about you, but we’d like to think that an alternative exists to upcycle or even recycle used coffee grounds.

In fact, we’ve found that there are many ways you can recycle used coffee grounds. There are heaps of practical uses for coffee grinds in the garden and even as part of your daily beauty regime… honest…

But even if you don’t drink coffee you can still get your mitts on a plentiful supply of used grounds as most coffee shops just want rid and are happy to give them away.

There’s no reason to stop drinking the world’s favourite drink, but here’s some suggestions to think about and do something different with your used grounds.

 

7 creative ways to recycle used coffee grounds

1. Fertiliser

Coffee grounds are compostable
Coffee grounds can be used as fertiliser.

 

Surprisingly most soil types are devoid of many of the key nutrients needed to make your plants grow and when plants do start to grow, they use up any nutrients that are present. So, to combat this gardeners and farmers alike use varying forms of fertiliser to add nutrients to their soil.

Obviously we would all prefer to use natural fertilisers but they can be pretty expensive… but we might just have a little solution in the form of used coffee grounds.

Coffee grounds make an excellent fertiliser. Grounds are good because they contain quite a few of the key minerals that are essential for promoting healthy plant growth like nitrogen, calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium and chromium. They’re easy to use too, if you haven’t planted sprinkle over the soil and dig in and if you have planted then simply sprinkle them liberally around your plants and the rain will do the rest.

 

2. Compost

Coffee grounds are compostable. The great thing about used coffee grounds is you can stash them on your compost heap. The trick with good compost is to use a variety of organic matter like vegetable scraps, egg shells, leaves, grass cuttings and coffee grounds. If you let these ingredients do their thing you’ll get balanced rich dark compost called humus, which is full of nutrients just the thing to make your garden grow.

 

3. Growing Mushrooms

Fertilise mushrooms with used coffee grounds
Used coffee grounds can be recycled as a fertiliser for mushrooms.

 

You can have edible fungus fun with coffee grinds too. Mushrooms as we otherwise know them are difficult to grow. Try using your used coffee grounds to fertilise your mushrooms.

There are over 14,000 different types of mushrooms and they’re fussy about where they grow and many simply refuse to grow on plain old soil. Mushrooms need a substrate in which to nestle down and that in turn needs to be brim full of nutrients. Substrate requirements can vary too from mushroom to mushroom but fortunately both button and oyster mushrooms love a little coffee action which is handy as just 0.2% of nutrition from coffee beans is utilised when making coffee. Once brewed the remaining 99.8% ends up in the bin which is great for mushroom lovers.

 

4. Air Freshener

Upcycle Coffee Grounds by using them as an air freshener
Used coffee grounds are just the thing to get rid of nasty smells.

 

Coffee grounds contain nitrogen, which is pretty handy especially when it comes to getting rid of nasty smells.

If you’ve got a smelly fridge empty your used coffee grounds into a bowl, place it in the bottom of your fridge and let them work their magic. You can recycle used coffee grounds by making a great air freshener, removing those stale smells from your fridge.

If you’ve got stinky trainers coffee grounds can help too. Simply place them in your sneakers and they’ll deodorise in a jiffy.

 

5. Cleaning

Used coffee grounds are rough… but that’s a good thing.

Being more than a little abrasive they have a multitude clever cleaning uses… especially if you’ve got a build-up of grease and grime in your kitchen, just like sand you can use them to scour your pans. Used coffee grounds make great grease busters and are really nifty at removing caked on food. You can use them to clean your sink or even your oven or your hob (just don’t use them on porous materials… you’ll get a lovely brown stain if you do)

You can even recycle used coffee grounds in a tub by your sink and use them to scrub your hands especially if you’ve been chopping garlic. It’s perfect for removing unpleasant smells from your hands.

 

6. Skincare

We’ve mentioned that coffee grounds are abrasive and great for removing the smell of garlic from your fingers after a frantic chopping session in the kitchen but they have another role to play too… when used in your daily beauty routine.

Hear us out on this…

Used coffee grounds are just the thing for removing grease, dirt and dead skin from your body. All you have to do is add some grounds to a little water or oil and then gently scrub your skin with them. They’ll leave you feeling fresh as a daisy you could even get rid of those unwanted bags from under your eyes. It’s just a case of adding coconut oil to your used grounds and mixing together so that they form a paste. Then apply under your eyes and leave on your skin for around 10 minutes or so before rinsing off with water.

It’s worth doing because caffeine has high anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which stimulate blood circulation and can help reduce swelling under the eyes. This is where most of us show signs of aging first so anything that helps has to be a good thing.

 

7. Tenderising Meat

Meat contains muscle fibres and an array of proteins that make it tough. Tenderising breaks down the muscle fibres in the meat which softens the texture. This makes it easier to chew and can make tough and inexpensive cuts of meat taste better.

We can go at it with brute force and use a hammer or we can be a little more sedate and let science do the job.

There are three natural tenderisers and they are acids, enzymes and salt… handily coffee grinds contain two; acids and enzymes which when rubbed into uncooked meat a few hours beforehand effectively and naturally tenderises before cooking and adds an extra depth of flavour into the bargain…

 

Read more coffee hacks and tips here