What to do with the coffee grounds?

Did you know that 9,980,760,000 kg of coffee is consumed globally in one year? And you know that this coffee is used to be infused, i.e. we pass hot water through it and get rid of the leftover grounds. This huge amount of waste generated should never end up in the general waste bin.

Throwing coffee grounds into this generic rubbish bin means wasting the full potential of coffee grounds, as they have many properties and uses once we prepare our coffees. We should know what to do with coffee grounds: we can give them a second life and use them as fertiliser for plants or many beauty body treatments.

If you are interested in this topic, we will explain how you can use coffee grounds and what you can do with all that waste that accumulates in your coffee grounds’ knock-out drawer. Let’s all work together to make the planet more sustainable!

What do we mean by coffee grounds?

When we talk about coffee grounds, we always mean the coffee grounds that remain after being moistened and filtered with water to prepare our favourite beverage. It doesn’t matter whether they are loose or in a capsule: their composition and condition remain the same.

Generally, coffee grounds are generated in the form of a wet tablet, which we take out of the filter holder of our espresso machine, or the remains of ground coffee from the filter of our drip coffee machine. Another way to obtain them, although more difficult, is to open the used coffee capsules and remove the grounds from inside.

Dried coffee that has not been used, such as the remains of some grindings, is not considered coffee grounds because they cannot be applied to the uses we review in this article. Now let’s look at how to recycle coffee grounds and what you can do with coffee grounds from your coffee machine.

Granos de café usados: usos y sugerencias

If you don’t want to recycle coffee grounds, never throw them down the sink. Throw them in the organic waste bin if you are going to dispose of them. Coffee grounds from the coffee machine are terrible for plumbing and pipes.

If you are in the habit of rinsing out the filter of your coffee machine and letting the coffee grounds go down the drain, chances are that in a few months you will have clogged pipes and will have to call a plumber.

How to use coffee grounds for plants

That coffee grounds are good for plants has been known for generations. Using coffee grounds as fertiliser helps plants grow healthier and stronger:

  • As an organic substrate to mix with soil. Firstly, using coffee grounds as an organic substrate is a perfect substitute for compost and a natural way. You can use it in your garden or directly in pots and small plants at home. Pour the coffee grounds directly around your plants.
  • To create traditional home compost together with other organic waste. On the other hand, we can use coffee grounds to make compost by mixing it with layers of different components that will decompose together.

To better illustrate coffee grounds as a substrate, here is a short video summary with some useful tips from a professional point of view. If you have a small plot or piece of the garden at home, don’t hesitate to take advantage of this opportunity:

Related: What is Soybean Coffee?

Other ways to use coffee grounds in the garden are, for example, to create small barriers around your plants to keep out slugs and snails (the caffeine is toxic to them) or to use the grounds as food for the earthworms in your compost. But don’t overdo it, a small amount will be enough.

How to use coffee grounds for your face

We can take advantage of the coffee grounds as an exfoliant for the face or skin. Logically we cannot apply it directly, but we will have to make a natural coffee exfoliant with the help of these remains.

Generally, this exfoliant with coffee is made by mixing ground coffee (or coffee grounds, in our case) with olive oil in the right proportion to form a paste with a consistency similar to industrial creams.

Of course, you can always buy an exfoliant with coffee already made, but it’s not the same. We are looking to save and contribute to the sustainability of our planet, aren’t we?

And use the leftover coffee for hair?

Well, that too. Coffee is a natural ingredient that can help strengthen and nourish your hair and help darken it if that’s its natural colour. You can learn more about using coffee for your hair in the guide we just linked to, which we’ve already put together on this subject.

How to use coffee grounds against cellulite

Coffee alone does not help to remove cellulite, but it does help to firm the skin and is an excellent complement to specific anti-cellulite treatments. A well-known application of coffee grounds for cellulite is to make a mask or layer rubbed against the skin.

Again, to make these pastes or homemade coffee remedies, you can use ground coffee (this is what you will find in almost all the standard recipes and explanations). But we prefer to go the ecological way and replace the regular coffee with the leftover coffee from the coffee maker. Let’s get to work!

How to make soap from coffee grounds

Another practical use for coffee grounds is to use it as an essential component for making coffee soap.

To make coffee grounds soap, you can take any homemade coffee soap recipe and substitute the coffee ingredient (usually ground coffee powder or soluble coffee) with the coffee grounds you have stored.

Ingredients you need to make soap from coffee grounds:

  • Coffee grounds.
  • Neutral soap (you have to grate it first)
  • Olive oil
  • First, mix everything and put it in a bain-marie to dissolve and mix everything. It should take on a pasty consistency.
  • When your mixture has a density of cream, take it off the heat and put it into a mould. If you don’t have soap moulds at home, you can always use aluminium foil.
  • Finally, leave it for a few minutes until it cools down, and you can safely remove it from the mould.

If you are not clear about how to make soap from coffee grounds, here is a video that explains it in more detail:

OK, now that you know what to do with the coffee that’s leftover from the coffee maker, it’s time to put these tips into practice and contribute with your grain of sand to environmental sustainability. Are you up for it?