Coffee is one of the most consumed beverages in the world today, and the raw materials and other factors that go into its production are equally vital. After successful brewing, the work surface has to be cleaned and tidied up for further use.
One particular raw material that is particularly hard to dispose of after brewing is coffee grounds. Unlike other foodstuffs like rice particles, you cannot flush coffee grounds down the sink.
If you attempt that, you will most likely end up with a blocked sink or drain. The coffee grounds would clump together to form a solid mass, which could cause debris to pile up and ultimately cost you to fix.
Keep reading to find out how coffee grounds can be disposed of successfully and other uses for coffee grounds, which are great for the environment. You would be surprised that not everything that seems like waste deserves to be disposed of.
How Do We Get Coffee Grounds?
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Coffee grounds are the end product of the brewing process shortly before you get to savor that rich-tasting cup of espresso. After being tamped and aligned with the portafilter, pressurized water is run through the ground coffee to draw out the flavor.
No matter the brewing process selected, there are always coffee grounds left to clean up. Be it the French press, Aeropress, Siphon method, or even the pour-over method, coffee grounds are always leftover and can be quite a chore to dispose of.
To get coffee grounds, one must have brewed coffee and gotten the flavor out. A good number of coffee shops have a lot of bags of coffee grounds for disposal lying somewhere.
How Not To Dispose Of Coffee Grounds
Due to its coarse nature and the caffeine content, one has to be very careful of how one decides to do away with coffee grounds. Although coffee grounds have a lot of fantastic uses, which we would discuss later, here are some ways you SHOULD NOT dispose of your coffee grounds;
1. Do Not Flush Your Coffee Grounds Down The Toilet
It is not safe in any way to flush coffee grounds down the toilet, especially if you brew your coffee at home. Even if it were to be in a coffee shop with thousands of customers, do not flush coffee grounds down the toilet.
With time, the grounds are going to clump together and create a lump causing a blockage. We all know how blocked toilets can be messy and overflow with stagnant water, which is not the best.
2. Do Not Try To Shove Coffee Grounds Down Your Kitchen Sink
Almost like the first point, there would be a blockage caused by the coffee grounds accumulating in the pipes. This will only lead to you having to hire a plumber to fix the mess, which could have easily been avoided.
3. Do Not Throw Coffee Grounds Out of The Window Randomly
This particular precaution is very essential, especially if you a pet such as a dog or a cat at home. Be it Arabica or Robusta coffee, the caffeine content and acidity persists in coffee grounds.
Caffeine is lethal to small dogs and cats, and ingestion can cause death. If disposing of coffee grounds outside the house, make sure it is out of the reach of your pets.
How Then Do I Dispose Of Coffee Grounds?
Now that you know not to attempt flushing or shoving coffee grounds down the kitchen sink or toilet, how do you safely dispose of them?
1. Throw The Coffee Grounds In The Trash Can
This is the best way to dispose of coffee grounds after you are done with brewing. Ensure you dispose of the coffee grounds where your pets are unable to reach them, and consume the coffee grounds out of curiosity.
You could also look for a recycle or composting bin close to your residence.
12 Awesome Alternative Uses For Coffee Grounds
Coffee grounds have a lot of alternative uses asides from being re-used for another round of brewing. Even at that, there are chances of extracting the bitter-tasting chemicals in the second round of brewing.
Coffee grounds have found use as fertilizers and great additions to composting heaps. Below are twelve ways which you can convert your coffee grounds to serve you better, rather than just discarding them in the garbage;
1. Coffee Grounds Can Be Used As a Fertilizer
Most soils are not too rich in nutrients and minerals required for plant growth, hence the need for fertilizers and manure. Even if the soil had nutrients, the plants would use them up quickly, leaving the soil depleted of vital minerals like phosphorus and potassium.
Coffee grounds are rich in essential minerals required for plant growth. Vital minerals such as calcium, chromium, iron, magnesium are found in coffee grounds. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (the famous NPK trio) are also found in coffee grounds.
Coffee grounds may also absorb heavy metals like copper and cadmium, which can contaminate the soil. Coffee grounds also attract worms which are great for your crops.
Take note that you should do this for acid-loving plants like blueberries, daffodils, and azaleas. Sprinkle the coffee grounds around the plants and leave to release minerals into the soil.
2. Coffee Grounds Are A Great Repellant For Pests and Insects
Coffee grounds contain chemical compounds like diterpenes and caffeine, which are toxic to insects. Therefore, coffee grounds can help keep off insects from your residence, especially on farms.
You can use coffee grounds to ward off bugs, aphids, fruit flies, snails, beetles, slugs, and mosquitoes.
Sprinkle the coffee grounds around selected plants, or fill bowls up with coffee grounds and leave them exposed in designated areas.
3. Coffee Grounds Make A Great Addition To Compost
Compost is organic matter such as leaves, kitchen, and yard waste brought together to decompose into more minor compounds. The process of doing this is called composting.
Coffee grounds can be added to existing compost piles for further composition and addition of nutrients. This is an excellent option if you are not in immediate need of fertilizers.
Compost is excellent in adding nutrients to the soil and is of utmost importance to farmers. Coffee grounds, when added, can help increase earthworm activity, which is good for the heap of organic matter.
4. Use Coffee Grounds To Scour Your Kitchen Utensils
Coffee grounds are coarse in nature, and this property makes them great to use as a scrub when cleaning kitchen utensils.
Sprinkle the coffee grounds like you would do with detergents and proceed to wash with a sponge.
5. Coffee Grounds Make A Great Exfoliator
The particles found in coffee grounds are pretty coarse and effective at removing dirt and decayed cells from the skin surface.
Mix the coffee grounds with coconut oil to use as a face scrub. Olive oil, dead sea salt, and coffee grounds make an excellent exfoliating foot scrub when combined.
Coffee grounds have been found to contain antioxidants that can help curb damage from the sun on the skin.
6. Coffee Grounds Are Great For Tenderizing Meat
Most animal meats such as beef, pork, and lamb consist of fiber, muscle, and connective tissue, which give them a tough consistency. Meat would cook a lot faster if it were tenderized.
There are commonly used substances for softening meat, namely acids, salt, and enzymes. Coffee grounds contain enzymes and acids, making them ideal for tenderizing meat.
Add the coffee grounds to your preferred dry-rub recipe two hours before you set the meat to cook. The coffee grounds would form a dark, crispy crust having cooked unto the meat.
7. Restore Colour To Washed-Off Furniture
Wooden furniture, especially those made from mahogany, can quickly get scratched and worn-off. However, you can try using coffee grounds to restore color before applying polish and other chemical alternatives.
Make a thick paste with coffee grounds and water. Gently dab the affected area with a cotton swab and let it sit for ten minutes. Repeat this until you have covered the affected surface.
Be sure to try this on a tiny spot first. Your furniture should no have a dark-brown coloration to it.
8. Coffee Grounds Can Be Used To Mask And Absorb Odours
Coffee grounds can be used to absorb odors as intense as that of sulfur when mixed with carbon. Carbon grounds have been added to trash bags to conceal the foul smell of dustbins.
You can also keep a bowl of coffee grounds in the fridge to reduce the smell being given off by fragrant foods.
Coffee grounds can also be tied in socks or put in containers and kept in areas inside the house that need deodorizing.
9. Great Body Rinse For Dogs After Scrubbing
Fleas can be a disturbance to dogs, but did you know coffee grounds could also ward off fleas from a dog?
After bathing your dog, scrub him or her with a handful of coffee grounds before rinsing. The odor from coffee grounds wards fleas away, giving your dog more peace of mind and less scratching.
10. Coffee Grounds Can Be Used As A Natural Dye
Wet coffee grounds can be used as an alternative to dyes containing possibly harmful chemical compounds. Wet coffee grounds can be used to dye materials like linen, color, cotton, and rayon.
Coffee grounds can be used as hair dyes or to color Easter eggs and your kids’ artwork around the house.
11. Coffee Grounds Can Be Used To Clean Your Fireplace
Cleaning fireplaces can be quite a tricky and messy chore. Anything to make cleaning a fireplace with all the ash easier would be greatly appreciated.
When your fireplace is damp, sprinkle coffee grounds to help inhibit dust and ash while you clean.
12. Coffee Grounds Can Help Reduce The Appearance Of Cellulite
Cellulite is a skin condition that gives the skin a lumpy appearance. Cellulite is common among 8 to 9 out of 10 women. Cellulite occurs when deposits of fat make their way through connective tissues and are commonly seen in thighs.
When caffeine, like the one found in coffee grounds, is applied to the skin (topically), these fat deposits are broken down, and blood flow is released to the area.
Mix coffee grounds with coconut oil or water, apply to the affected surface as a scrub for ten minutes. Apply this once or twice weekly.
Coffee grounds are not useless as one may think. Instead of trashing the coffee grounds, you could go on to utilize the coffee grounds as fertilizer, insect repellants, and many other uses. There is even a scheme by Starbucks where they collect coffee grounds and distribute them to farmers.
If you decide to trash the coffee grounds, remember not to dispose of them close to where pets could access them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Coffee Grounds Be Brewed and Re-used Again?
Doctors strongly advise against this, as coffee grounds contain two chemical compounds known as cafestol and kahweol; these compounds can increase blood cholesterol levels.
If I Cannot Brew And Re-use My Coffee Grounds, What Can I Use Them For Then?
Asides from the creative uses mentioned above, like fertilizers and insect repellants, there are other ways you can use coffee grounds.
Coffee grounds can be used in recipes for sauces, meat rubs, and baked goods.
Since Coffee Grounds Can Be Used In Compost, Can They Be Used As Biofuels?
Coffee beans are currently being explored as means of biofuels and biochemicals. There is now a company called Bio Bean working on recycling coffee grounds for renewable and sustainable energy.