Oh, coffee! Many of us rely on you to start the day or help us push through that early afternoon slump, but what happens to those coffee grounds after we finish the pot?
When you toss coffee grounds into the trash, they break down and release methane, like any other organic matter would do. Methane is a greenhouse gas 20 times more powerful than CO2. Luckily, there are lots of ways to divert all of that coffee from the landfill by using it in beauty products, cleaning supplies, and even in the garden!
For many of these tips, moist ground will do (just let them cool, so you don’t burn your skin!). If you’re planning to hang on to the grounds, though, you have to dry them out or they’ll get moldy. Dry them out by spreading a thin layer on a cookie sheet and placing them in a sunny spot to dry. When they’re all dried out, they’re ready to re-use!
Ready to start repurposing those old coffee grounds? Here are 15 tips to get you going! If you have more ideas on how to reuse coffee grounds, I’d love to keep the inspiration going in the comments.
1. Use them as fertilizer on acid-loving plants (like tomatoes and carrots)
2. Deter cats from the garden by sprinkling around beds or pots.
3. Mix with mashed avocado for an invigorating face mask.
4. Scrub your hands with spent coffee grounds after chopping onion or garlic to get the smell off of your skin.
5. Compost them.
Image Credit (above): Creative Commons photo by tristanf
Tip: Not a coffee drinker? Don’t fret! You can still get in on the coffee grounds goodness. Many coffee shops will give you their spent grounds for free or for a nominal fee that covers the cost of packing them up for you.
6. Make an anti-cellulite scrub.
7. Keep them in the fridge or freezer instead of baking soda to eliminate odors.
8. Repel ants, snails, and slugs by sprinkling coffee grounds near the point of entry.
9. Steep the grounds in water, strain out the grounds, and you’ve got all natural brown fabric dye!
10. Scour away grease on your pots and pans.
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by mr. tee hee
Tip: Some people say that you can dry out spent coffee grounds, mix them 50/50 with fresh grounds, and make coffee with them one more time!
11. Stick a sachet of dried coffee grounds into a smelly pair of shoes to get rid of the stink.
12. If you have dark hair, you can massage coffee grounds into your scalp to prevent dandruff. Blondes and red-heads, this is not for you, since the grounds can color your roots slightly!
13. Vermicomposters can feed coffee grounds to the worms. Just be careful, since grounds are acidic. Too much isn’t good for those wigglers.
14. Use coffee grounds to exfoliate your skin.
15. To give paper an “aged” look for craft projects, quickly dip pages, soak grounds in water overnight, then quickly dip your pages and let them dry before crafting.