5 Zero-Waste Ways to Recycle Used Coffee Grounds

After enjoying a cup or two of your freshly-brewed coffee in the morning, the next thing you probably do is clean your coffee maker or pot.

This means throwing away the coffee grounds left in the machine or whatever device you use to make coffee.

However, discarding used coffee grounds isn’t the only thing you can do with these dregs.

When you buy premium coffee, you can get more out of them and help the environment at the same time by recycling and reusing the used coffee grounds.

Tips for Recycling and Repurposing Used Coffee Grounds

Below are some of the best and easiest ways to recycle and reuse coffee dregs:

1. Add the coffee grounds to your compost.

Composting refers to the process of recycling food scraps, yard debris, and other organic items into fertiliser.

The resulting product, which is called ‘compost’ or ‘humus’, can be added to soil, giving it more nutrients and helping it hold more water. As a result, your plants become healthier and look more vibrant.

A study showed that compost containing used coffee grounds and other food waste is richer in nutrients.

If you have a garden and want your plants to grow healthily and thrive, you would do well to put your coffee dregs in the compost bin and mix them with the dry leaves, grass clippings, tree bark, eggshells, stale bread and pastries, and fruit and vegetable peels.

If you put your composting bin outdoors, you can have ready-to-use humus within a month. However, this can take longer depending on the temperature, the combination of wet green and dry brown organic materials, and the size and volume of the compost pile.

When the compost becomes dark brown and crumbly, it is ready to be used as fertiliser.  Sprinkle them around your garden and potted plants.


2. Use the coffee grounds as an exfoliant.

Used coffee grounds aren’t only beneficial to plants; they are also good for your skin.

Various reports show that coffee offers several health benefits to the skin, including boosting collagen levels and preventing the onset of acne.

The coarse texture of used coffee grounds makes them effective exfoliating agents that remove dirt and dead cells from the skin.

To create a homemade, natural exfoliant, combine used coffee grounds with a small amount of water or coconut oil to make a paste. Apply this mixture with your hands over your face and body and rinse after a few minutes.

Aside from removing dead skin cells, your homemade natural coffee scrub contains antioxidant substances that help protect your skin from sun damage.


3. Add the dregs to homemade eye area revitalising treatment.

The skin around the eyes is delicate and only has small amounts of fat tissue. Because of this, this area is prone to showing signs of premature ageing.

And since the skin around the eyes is delicate, puffiness and dark circles tend to develop easily around them. You can get rid of these with a natural used coffee grounds treatment you can make at home.

A study shows that skincare products with coffee can help reduce the dark circles and under the eyes and puffiness due to the additional caffeine and antioxidant properties they contain.

These antioxidants can also help fight free radicals that cause premature skin ageing.

To make this eye area revitalising treatment, create a paste by adding a bit of water or coconut oil to the coffee grounds. Apply the mixture under your eyes, leave it for 10 minutes, then rinse with clean water.

Do this every day or as needed to revitalise your eyes.


4. Create soap with coffee grounds.

If you like making soap or want to try your hand at doing it, save your used coffee grounds and add them to the ones you’ll make first.

According to one study, coffee is highly effective in combating odours, making it a natural deodoriser.

Because of this reason, used coffee grounds are an excellent ingredient for soaps.

Aside from getting rid of the smells from your hand and body, soaps with coffee grounds can exfoliate dead skin and remove more dirt from your skin.


5. Use coffee grounds to touch up furniture scratches and scuffs.

Wooden chairs, tables, and other furniture get easily scratched and scuffed.

You can use coffee dregs to hide these flaws and make your furniture look appealing again.

Combine used coffee grounds and water to create a thick paste. Use a cotton bud to apply the mixture over the scratches and scuffs.

Leave the paste over the treated area for five to 10 minutes, then wipe it off with a clean piece of cloth.

The paste buffs out the scratch or scuff and hides it by dyeing the exposed wood with dark-brown colour.

If you’re dealing with large, noticeable flaws, apply the paste several times every few hours until they become less visible and you get the colour you want.


The next time you clean your coffee maker or pot after making your favourite espresso coffee, save the used coffee grounds and follow these tips for recycling them.

Doing so lets you get more from your purchased coffee beans and have a more sustainable lifestyle.

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