Unless you’re brewing instant coffee, you’re most likely faced with disposing of a daily dose of used coffee grounds. You could throw them out with the garbage (hopefully in an organic waste bin), or you could recycle them.
Rich in nitrogen and other trace elements, coffee grounds are a fantastic source of ‘green’ organic matter that can be added to your compost heap. Sprinkled directly around plants, the grounds keep slugs and snails at bay, but are a great source of food for helpful worms. Some sources also suggest steeping a few cups of grounds in a five gallon bucket of water to create liquid fertilizer.
Coffee grounds can also be used in kid-friendly –but still supervised – craft projects. Have an old pair of stockings with a run in them? Before you throw them out, cut off one of the feet, fill it with slightly moistened grounds, and use it to wipe across a piece of paper – viola! Once dried, you have naturally colored paper perfect for ‘old’ treasure maps or letters. Grounds can also be rubbed into fabric to dye it. They can even be used to make play dough!
One of the neatest ways to recycle coffee grounds I found, has to be Back to the Roots’ Organic Mushroom Farm. This amazing kit allows you to grow tasty oyster mushrooms at home, using a carefully prepared box of used coffee grounds. While this particular recycling method might be a bit out of the average coffee drinker’s reach, it’s a great example of what’s possible when a little bit of curiosity meets a great deal of creativity and enthusiasm.
So, how do you recycle your grounds? We’d love to hear from you!