It shouldn’t come as a surprise to hear that on average, Australians drink 175 cups of coffee a year. That’s more than one cup every other day. Which is a lot of cups. And while most people know how important it is to use a reusable cup, many of us don’t consider how much damage we’re doing to the environment with another by-product of drinking our coffee: the used grounds.
If you didn’t know, when coffee grounds are sent to landfill, they decompose to produce methane, a greenhouse gas with more than 20 times the global warming capacity of carbon dioxide. Twenty times! That’s likely to make you think twice next time you’re making coffee at home and considering knocking those grounds into the bin.
So, why not use them for something else? They’ll not only get a second life but also may not even need to be sent to landfill. Plus, when used in certain ways for the home, garden and on the body, coffee grounds are actually extremely practical.
Here, so you can be more sustainable and eco-friendly with your coffee grounds, Sydney-based Seven Miles Roasters shares seven of those practical use ways:
Make a Coffee Scrub
Your humble coffee grounds have a variety of beauty benefits thanks to their antioxidant properties. One go-to beauty hack for used coffee grounds is to use them to make a simple, yet effective at-home body scrub. Mix them with a tablespoon of brown sugar, which helps the scrub stick together, and a tablespoon of natural oil which helps the scrub moisturise your skin deeply, and your mix is ready to go.
Make a Coffee Soap
If you’re feeling particularly crafty at home, convert your used coffee grounds into a DIY bar of soap. You can choose between two methods: melt-and-pour or cold-press.
Coffee gives soap a unique look (and a delicious smell) and the resulting product makes a great alternative for a body scrub.
Scrub Into Your Hair and Scalp
Coffee is not only great for your skin, but it also does wonders for your hair and scalp. The invigorating effects of coffee can be felt when used in your hair care routine. Simply work the grounds into your scalp with your fingertips and rinse them out with cool water. Some studies suggest that the caffeine in coffee grounds can even stimulate hair growth.
Make Surf Wax
If you’re a regular beachgoer and an avid surfer, consider using coffee grounds to make your own surf wax. All you need, apart from the grounds, is beeswax and coconut oil. The grounds add extra grip to the wax (and delicious whiffs to smell while you’re out on the water!).
For Garden Fertiliser
Who would’ve thought that your used coffee grounds would be your best friend in the garden? With composting, coffee grounds are naturally rich in nitrogen and this provides bacteria with the energy to turn organic matter into compost. When it comes to using coffee grounds as a fertiliser, this helps add organic material to the soil, improving drainage, water retention and aeration in the soil.
For Kitchen Cleaning
With its coarse texture and divine smell, coffee grounds are perfect to use for cleaning. Simply sprinkle used grounds on cookware, the grill or inside your sink and scrub as usual. While they do also work for scouring pots and pans, it’s not recommended you use them on delicate crockery or anything with a light-coloured surface that could easily be stained.
Who knew that coffee contains an enzyme that helps soften meat and enhance its flavour? For your next BBQ, try adding your used grounds to a dry-rub recipe and the grounds will work to form a dark, crispy crust. Or you can rebrew the grounds and use the resulting coffee as a marinade for your BBQ.