Many folks can’t get by without that cup of morning joe. But when you’re done brewing, don’t toss those coffee grounds — they can be as useful as the brew itself.
Some cities and municipalities have green recycling programs that will accept coffee grounds; a few companies are even recycling coffee grounds to use for fuel. But even if you lack access to these utopic programs, there are many ways to reuse coffee around your home.
Using coffee grounds in your garden
Plants love coffee as much as you do. Coffee grounds can be used as a productive fertilizer because it adds nitrogen, potassium and a dash of magnesium to the soil. The consistency of coffee grounds is also handy for soil health.
“When you put coffee in your percolator it’s very light. At the end, it’s very heavy and it retains water,” says Brad Walker, founder of ReGround Organics in Ontario, Canada. “If you take that principle around your house, basically what you can do is mix it with your soil and help it retain water.” The aeration attracts worms and keeps the soil from getting hard like clay. Coffee grounds are especially good for flowers like azaleas, hydrangeas, rhododendrons, camellias and roses that thrive in acidic soil.
Mix grounds with dead grass clippings, brown leaves or dry straw to neutralize it and prevent the waterlogged grounds from developing fungus or mold. Keep in mind that coffee grounds alone will not have essential nutrients for your plants such as phosphorus and calcium. Walker recommends a ratio of one part coffee ground to six parts soil to ensure the proper balance of nutrients. If you are not ready to use your coffee grounds in your garden right away, throw it in your compost heap as nitrogen-rich “green” matter.