It’s been estimated that American consumers drink approximately 400 million cups of coffee every day. That generates a lot of old coffee grounds, and usually those grounds go straight into the trash can.
While coffee farming has been notorious for its contribution to the destruction of South American rainforests, coffee grounds themselves are a useful organic substance, and there are a lot of ways you can reuse and recycle them to take advantage of their beneficial qualities. They’re good for your yard, your skin, and may even come in handy in the kitchen or while cleaning the house.
Reusing your old coffee grounds can a small, but helpful step towards improving the sustainability of your lifestyle. Check out these 10 awesome applications of your old coffee grounds!
1. Organic fertilizer
If you have a garden, consider sprinkling some of your old grounds outside on your flower beds. Your plants will be able to benefit from the nutrients in the grounds. You can also add grounds to your compost heap and use them later as part of the compost.
2. Organic pest control
Ants, snails, and some other critters are not fond of coffee grounds. If these pests terrorize your plants, consider adding the grounds to the soil to keep them away. Cats will avoid the grounds as well, if you’re trying to keep ol’ Mitsy from nibbling away at your garden.
3. Household deodorizer
Adding some coffee grounds to your closet or your fridge or freezer in a small container can prevent unpleasant odors from gathering or lingering.
4. Abrasive cleaner
If you are having a hard time getting tough food off of dishes, try cleaning them with coffee grounds. The grounds act as an abrasive and make it much easier to scrub off dried, crusted foods.
5. Flavor enhancer in baking
Fresh or used coffee grounds can add flavor to baked desserts like cakes or brownies.
6. Cellulite treatment
It may sound strange, but if you check the ingredients on expensive cellulite treatments, you may notice coffee listed pretty often. To do this treatment on yourself, mix one tablespoon of olive oil with a fourth cup of used coffee grounds. Spread this mixture out on the areas where you have cellulite and then wrap the area using plastic wrap. After a few minutes, take off the wrap and then shower to clean off the treatment. Try doing this a couple times a week.
7. Hair rinse
Try rubbing coffee grounds into your hair after you wash it. Then rinse them back out again. You’ll probably find that your hair is shinier and softer after you finish. Coffee ground can help to bring out color in brown hair, but it may darken blonde hair (without adding color to it).
8. Dog flea repellant
If you rub some coffee grounds into your dog’s hair after you wash it, the coffee grounds can help to repel fleas.
Coffee grounds can be steeped in hot water to create a dye which you can use on fabric or paper, making it useful for arts and crafts. The dye will not be strong enough to dye your hair, but it may help to enhance its color or darken it. Using coffee grounds as a hair rinse as discussed above can help you do this as well. Multiple applications are needed for success.
10. Traction on icy pavement
The salts which are used to melt ice on pavement are not good for the environment. Coffee grounds can help provide traction on slippery pavement and also may help to melt the ice faster, most likely due to their color (which absorbs light and heat). You’ll need to gauge whether this is a good solution for you or not; always go with what is safest.
Old coffee grounds are some of the most all-around useful byproducts out there, and you don’t need to throw them in the trash. There are plenty of ways you can use them to replace substances which are not friendly to the environment, like fertilizer, pest repellant and driveway salts. They can also replace some of your chemical-loaded cosmetic products, which can contribute to a healthier lifestyle. If you aren’t sure what to do with yours, you can always add them to your compost heap. They will improve the quality of your compost, contributing to a healthier garden and a healthier planet.