If you are like me, I can’t start the day without a strong cup of coffee. We bought the fancy Single Cup Coffee maker about five years ago when it didn’t even hit the stores yet. It was so much fun to make coffee that I would drink it day and night, just to play with the machine. But, I soon realized how wasteful those single cartridges were. I felt as if the coffee grounds were not fully utilized in that plastic “pods”, as they are called, when they had to be ejected for the next cup. And to see all those accumulated plastic pods in the trash! Ugh.
Then, my hubby came home one day with the filter basket that can be substituted for the pods. All we had to do was use our own coffee grounds and put them in the filter basket! That sounded like a such smart way to cut down on plastic waste! So now, we still have fresh coffee every time we use our single cup coffee machine but now it’s so much better for the environment. That reminds me, I think I need a refill.
Uses for Used Coffee Grounds
Did you know that used coffee grounds are great for so many things? I knew about fresh coffee grounds being great for eliminating bad odor – found out the hard way when my son, about 2 years old then, threw up on a plane and the flight attendant rushed over to cover the lovely artwork and the odor with a bag of fresh coffee grounds. I learned not to give him cow’s milk anymore and that fresh coffee grounds can eliminate even the nastiest odor as soured milk vomit. But used coffee grounds?
Well, my mom told me that it’s a great fertilizer for her garden so to save them for her. Another ecological advice from my mom? May be. So being the kind of person that I am, who needed at least some reliable sources other than “old wives’ tale” anecdotes from my mom, I researched. Well, I Googled. And guess what I found. Used coffee grounds are great for gardens….and then some. Ah ha! At least I can tell her a thing or two. Here are some other uses for used coffee grounds.
1. Used coffee grounds are great for bath and beauty care. Use some used coffee grounds while washing your hair and rinse. It will bring shine and softness to hair.
2. Great exfoliant for skin. Use as massage scrub. Mix with olive oil and coffee grounds, massage over skin and rinse.
3. Fertilizer for plants. Used coffee grounds are rich in nutrients for plants that thrive in acidic soil like azaleas, hydrangeas and hybrid roses…turn any alkaline soil into more acidic soil and add nitrogen to earth.
4. Adding used coffee grounds to garden soil keeps the worms alive, which helps the soil to become richer. Great for clay and rocky soil.
5. Add some used coffee grounds with potting soil for planting.
6. Great for indoor plants too…even old poinsettias thrive with coffee grounds.
7. Natural garden insect repellents against snails, slugs, and ants.
8. Place a bowl with used coffee grounds in the freezer to remove unwanted odors.
9. Rub coffee grounds on hands to get rid of smells from chopping or cutting up pungent foods.
10. Make a sachet with old nylons or cheesecloth with dry used coffee grounds. Hang in closets to absorb odors.
11. Used coffee grounds can be used as an abrasive cleaner. Be careful of any surfaces that might stain.
12. Remove furniture scratches with wet coffee grounds.
13. Sprinkle wet coffee grounds over the ashes when cleaning fireplace to keep from becoming engulfed in the plume of dust ashes create when you need to remove them.
14. Dye fabric, paper or Easter eggs. Simply add used coffee grounds to warm water and let sit a bit to create a dye.
15. After you give your dog a bath, rub coffee grounds through the coat of your pet. Coffee grounds are said to repel fleas.
16. Keep bait worms alive by mixing coffee grounds into the soil before you add worms.
17. Great in compost pile to increase nitrogen in the mix.
I checked our beloved coffee stores, Starbucks and Peet’s Coffee, websites and not surprisingly, they both have tips on coffee and it’s ecological uses. Furthermore, you can request used coffee grounds from those stores for your use!
Personally, I have used coffee grounds as insect repellent since we had problems of having carpenter ants visiting us every summer. Whenever we accumulate used coffee grounds, I would throw them outside the house, forming a “moat” around the house to prevent the ants from crossing the border to enter the house. We haven’t had a visit from the colony since we started our defense program. I also use fresh coffee grounds as room deodorizer instead of candles and sprays. I just buy cheap ones from the wholesale club for that purpose and it lasts a very long time. It’s cost effective and natural. Try it. Not only is coffee good for your health, in moderation, it’s great for the environment if used properly.
Oh, by the way, if you still use those individual K-Cups (Ahem, but are planning to convert them to reusable ones, right?), you can check out Earth911′s DIY for making these cute little planters out of them. Aren’t these cute?
Now, I really need that refill.