Updated: January 10, 2022 by Owen Richardson
From growing beans to distribution to end customers, the coffee industry is known for its environmental impact. One of the most concerning is what happens to coffee grounds after brewing.
Do you just throw coffee grounds in the bin? If you do, they’ll end up in the landfill. In turn, its decomposition in landfills can generate hazardous greenhouse gases and contribute to bigger environmental problems. Because of this, a lot of people are curious – can I reuse coffee grounds? Read on and we’ll answer this question.
Can I Reuse Coffee Grounds?
Yes, you can reuse coffee grounds! This is not only a good way to save money, but you are also doing something good for the environment.
For Making Another Cup of Coffee
While you can reuse coffee grounds, take note that you should not make another cup of coffee with it. Whether it is immediately reusing the grounds or saving it for tomorrow for another caffeine fix, this practice is a big no.
Always use fresh grounds for brewing coffee.
If you use the coffee grounds for making another cup immediately, the result can be very bitter. Such is because of over-extraction. On the other hand, if you reuse it a day or two after, your drink will end up weak and bland.
For Other Purposes
The good news is that even if you cannot reuse coffee grounds for making another beverage, it does not mean that you have to throw it away. Be creative, and you can find plenty of uses.
From the bathroom to the garden, coffee grounds can be beneficial in more ways than one.
Different Ways to Reuse Coffee Grounds
Clueless about what to do with spent coffee grounds? Here is a quick list of its potential uses.
Used coffee grounds will make a great option for green compost. Nonetheless, you need to balance it by adding brown compost, such as newspapers and leaves.
You can put used coffee grounds from your knock box straight into the soil. It is an organic material that can boost nitrogen in the compost. Plus, it has potassium and phosphorus, among other micronutrients that plants love. More so, it will help in improving drainage, aeration, and water retention.
Also, find out if you can also compost coffee filters.
Get rid of odors with natural materials, such as used coffee grounds. Aside from its robust aroma, coffee also has an excellent property that allows it to absorb foul odors, making it as effective as baking soda. Put it in a small container inside the fridge and it will help in neutralizing the smell.
Alternatively, coffee can also be great in stopping your shoes from stinking. Put it in a small container with holes or vents and place it inside your shoe.
Natural Body Scrub
Used coffee grounds are coarse, making them effective when used as an exfoliating agent. It can remove dead skin cells and dirt in your face and body.
To make a natural body scrub, combine coffee grounds with coconut oil or water. Directly scrub it on your skin applying enough effort for effective cleansing. Aside from cleaning your skin, coffee grounds are rich in antioxidants, which can protect against sun damage.
This is a great way to make use of stale coffee beans too — just grind them up and scrub away.
Many insects have a strong sense of smell. Once their nose detects the presence of coffee, you can instantly shoo them.
Coffee grounds are most potent in their burnt form. To be effective as an insect repellent, put spent grounds on a bowl and light it up like incense. As it burns, it will release odors that insects will hate.
More so, coffee grounds have diterpenes and caffeine. These chemicals are toxic to insects like mosquitoes, beetles, and fruit flies. Scatter coffee grounds around areas that insects frequent and watch them go away.
A lot of shampoos contain chemicals that can do more harm than good for your hair and scalp. Not to mention, they can also cause grease to build up and weigh your hair down. If you are looking for a natural and better alternative, consider reusing coffee grounds.
With used coffee grounds, you can get rid of dead skin cells and build-up on your scalp. It also has caffeine, which is believed to be effective in stimulating hair growth by accelerating blood flow on your scalp.
Your coffee addiction can benefit your garden, especially if you are keeping a worm bed for fertilizing. It can make excellent food, which will make worms healthier, and in turn, provide the micronutrients that your plants need.
Aside from gardening, worm beds are also great for fishing. This way, you can grow your own bait. Feed them with coffee grounds and they will get fatter. Plus, it can also be effective in neutralizing odors.
Add spent coffee grounds to kitchen scraps when feeding worms. However, do this in moderation. Otherwise, it can increase acidity, which will burn the worm’s skin.
Wooden furniture looks elegant until it gets scratched. With coffee grounds, you can restore the beauty of the wooden surface. Mix grounds with water and vinegar to fix scuffs and scratches. Pour the solution in a clean cloth and scrub the wooden surface until there are no more scratches.
By using coffee grounds, you are not just hiding scratches, but you are also making the color more consistent. It adds a dark-brown color to make the furniture look better.
If you want to get crafty, you can use spent coffee grounds as a natural dye. It will give a natural brownish color without the need for any material with toxic chemicals.
To be effective as a dye, one of the most important is to consider the material or fabric which you will be working on. Coffee will add a stronger color when you use it on wool compared to cotton. Adding vinegar is also a good idea, which will help the dye to settle.
Think twice before throwing used coffee grounds, especially if you are going to cook meat! The grounds will be great as a marinade and tenderizer. It will not only infuse rich caffeine flavors, but I can also make the meat easier to chew.
Coffee grounds will form a thick crust on the surface of the meat when it is cooked. It will break down tough fibers, so the meat will be tender. However, watch out and avoid overdoing it as will make the meat bitter.
There are tons of DIY art projects that you can do with used coffee grounds, and one of the best is a homemade candle. The spent grounds will infuse a strong aroma, which will help perk you up whenever the candle is lit.
As the wick burns and the candle melts, the coffee grounds will be exposed. It will emit a rich coffee flavor that will make you want to grab a cup of your caffeine fix.
Think twice before throwing spent coffee grounds! While you cannot use it for making another cup of coffee, there are plenty of other uses worth exploring. Save money and become eco-friendly by using coffee grounds as a garden fertilizer, insect repellent, body scrub, hair rinse, and meat tenderizer, among others.