Anyone that’s close to me knows that I am a coffee fanatic. Not only has it been shown to be good for your general health, but it gives me that extra push I need in the morning to have a productive day. It’s even been shown to help you out in the gym, which is huge for me right now as I focus on improving my overall health and longevity in my later years.
However, as an eco-conscious individual, I can’t help but notice how much waste there is around coffee consumption for those of us that drink it daily. Whether it’s the cups from your local Starbucks piled up in the trashcan, or the disposable K-Cups filling up our landfills, the large footprint of coffee consumption leaves a lot to be desired. Don’t get me wrong, I love a hot cup of coffee just as much as the next person, but like so much of our consumption, it’s hard to ignore the footprint it has the potential to create.
The good news is that used coffee grounds have a ton of untapped potential when it comes to reusing them. It’s almost like they are a gift from the reuse and recycling gods. In today’s post, I want to cover 5 of the best ways I have found to get the most out of the used coffee grounds that most people typical just toss in the trash!
- Help Cleaning Burnt Pots and Pans/Tough Dishes
Coffee grounds make a tough, yet non-damaging, abrasive for cleaning those plates and pans that need a little extra elbow grease. The grounds are sharp enough to break up burnt bits and pieces, yet are smooth enough to not cause any damage to your dishes or cookware. I like to keep some grounds in a jar right under the sink where it’s easy to access, and when I need them, I simply rub a bit on the tip of a wet cloth and go to work. I’m constantly surprised how well it works to break up even the toughest grease and grime.
- Fertilizer for the Garden
This is a popular one that most people have at least heard of and is one of the first ways that I personally started to reuse the coffee grounds my household produced. Not only does the coffee provide your soil with the nutrient it needs to produce vibrant flowers, but will also deter the little critters out to destroy your garden. Simply sprinkle the grounds around the best or your plants and let the coffee do the rest. If you are having trouble with larger animals making a snack out of your flowers, you can add some orange oil or rosemary to the mixture.
- Absorb Unwanted Odors
Most people know about using some trusty baking soda to absorb stray scents in the refrigerator or freezer, but did you know that used coffee grounds work just as well if not better? All you need to do it put a nice amount in a open Tupperware out of the way in your fridge and let it sit for 1-2 weeks. You’ll be amazed at how well it works for pulling out bad smells from the food in there. As an added bonus, once it’s done, you can add it to your compost pile!
- Makes a Great Addition to Compost
I love composting as it’s an awesome way to get more life out of kitchen scraps, and coffee grounds are an excellent component for good compost. Aside from being delicious, coffee beans contain plenty of nitrogen, which is great for green matter when composting. Just make sure than you don’t add too much or you’ll throw off the balance of the compost. As a rule of thumb, never add more than 25% coffee grounds relative to the total size of your compost pile.
- Homemade Skin Scrub
This is my favorite way to make use of those old grounds. I have made the most amazing coffee facial scrubs that I keep in a little plastic jar in the shower and use once or twice a week to exfoliate my skin. All I do is mix the grounds with about a tablespoon of coconut oil, and some raw coarse sugar. This scrub smells and feels awesome and rivals many commercially sold products I have bought in-store.
Hopefully you can see just how versatile these used grounds can be, and these 5 are just the tip of the iceberg. Let us know in the comments what your favorite uses are!
Remy Bernard – Owner and Editor at Miss Mamie’s Cupcakes: A baker, chef and writer, Remy started missmamiescupcakes.com as a way to deepen and spread her passion for making delicious food. She can also be found on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook.