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Uses for Coffee Grounds - Going Green in your Garden and Home

Updated on November 20, 2014
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Thelma Raker Coffone is an award winning writer who enjoys writing on a variety of topics, especially those honoring Veterans.

Go green with coffee in your home and garden
Go green with coffee in your home and garden

Efforts to "go green" are usually a result of the desire to save our planet by using earth friendly products and methods in every day tasks. There is also a movement to find uses for items that would normally be part of your garbage headed for a landfill. Such is the case with the common coffee grounds emptied each day from your coffee maker.

Ideas for Reusing Coffee Grounds

Here are just a few ideas for used coffee grounds that will help in your effort to live a green lifestyle:

  • In your garden or flower beds - sprinkle coffee grounds around plants that like acidic soils. Some examples are hostas, roses, rhododendrons, camellias, evergreens, azaleas, blueberries, carrots and radishes. It has been reported that the coffee grounds lose most of their acidity during the coffee brewing process but many gardeners swear by the use of coffee grounds around their plants. It probably is dependent on the type of soil you have.
  • "Perk" up your compost bin - Used coffee grounds make an excellent substitute for manure in your compost bin. It is easy to obtain, smells much better, and alleviates the concerns of many gardeners about using manure, especially in vegetable gardens. You can also add the used coffee filters to the compost pile.
  • A great fertilizer for your lawn - You can't beat the price of using coffee grounds as a fertilizer for your lawn. You will need to collect a lot of grounds which you can keep in a garbage can in your garage until you have enough. Apply as you would fertilizer and water well. During the heat of the day, enjoy the smell of coffee brewing!
  • As a deodorizer - Put some dry coffee grounds in a piece of an old pantyhose and tie it closed. Place it in a closet, in a pair of stinky tennis shoes, or anywhere else that has an unpleasant odor. You can easily dry the coffee grounds by spreading them out on a cookie sheet until they dry.
  • In the refrigerator or freezer - Forget about putting old fashioned baking soda in your refrigerator or freezer. Instead, try using a small cup of coffee grounds with a few drops of vanilla added to it. This will eliminate bad odors and give your refrigerator or freezer a pleasant smell.
  • As a hand scrub - You can remove dry skin on your hands or get rid of odors from cutting onions or garlic by using coffee grounds as a hand scrub. Just put a little liquid hand soap and a spoonful of coffee grounds in the palm of your hand. It feels so good when you rub your hands with the mixture. Smells good too!
  • Use as an ant repellent - Sprinkle your used coffee grounds on ant piles and they will be gone before long. This is a tried and true method for getting rid of ants without using harmful insect repellents.
  • Your house plants will love them - Put 1/2 cup of coffee grounds in an empty gallon milk jug or any other gallon container. Shake it to mix then let it sit overnight. Use it once a week to water any acid loving houseplants such as African violets, dieffenbachia, Norfolk Island pines, or impatiens. The coffee grounds are very rich in nitrogen.
  • Leftover Coffee - If you have a little coffee left in the pot, don't dump it down the drain. Just pour it into one of the houseplants listed above.

Are you a coffee drinker?

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What if You Don't Drink Coffee?

Most restaurants and coffee shops are more than willing to give you their used coffee grounds. It helps them to reduce waste and enables them to take a step toward "going green". Starbucks started the Grounds for Your Garden program in 1995 which allows them to give interested customers a complimentary 5 pound bag of used grounds. Ask about it next time you are in Starbucks or any other coffee shop.

Whether you are a non-drinker of coffee or a pot a day person, these ideas for using coffee grounds will put you one step closer to living a green lifestyle.

Do You Drink Regular or Decaf?

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© 2013 Thelma Raker Coffone


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