7 Ways to Reuse Coffee Grounds for a Zero Waste Kitchen

Courtesy of Seven Miles Coffee Roasters

As a nation of coffee lovers, it’ll be no surprise to read that on average Australians drink 175 cups of coffee a year. And while we all know the importance of reusable cups and other sustainable options, many don’t know the wastage that comes from simple coffee grounds.

However, with many of us making our coffee at home in lockdown, there are many ways to get creative and to repurpose used coffee grounds, giving them a new lease of life. From beauty hacks to gardening, coffee grounds are a natural and sustainable alternative to many everyday and household items.

Here are seven ways coffee drinkers and lovers can be more sustainable with their used coffee grounds:

1. The 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 a simple, yet effective, at-home body scrub. In addition to the coffee grounds, you can pop in a tablespoon of brown sugar and a tablespoon of a natural oil, like a peppermint essential oil. The brown sugar helps the scrub stick together and oils help moisturise deepy.

Related Post: Non-Profit Founder Vanessa Pope on Helping Cafes and Coffee Lovers Transition to a Reusable and Plastic-Free Experience

2. Lather on

If you’re feeling particularly crafty at home, used coffee grounds are a perfect edition to a DIY bar of soap. Whether you use the melt and pour or cold process method, coffee gives soap a unique look (and a delicious smell), but the resulting product makes a good alternative for a body scrub that can be kept in the bathroom.

3. Always a good hair day

Great for your skin and 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 with cool water. Some studies suggest that the caffeine in coffee grounds can even stimulate hair growth.

4. Surf’s up

If you’re a regular beach goer and an avid surfer, you can even make your own surf wax using coffee grounds – all you need is beeswax and coconut oil. As part of its Seven Miles in the Right Direction program, Australian specialty coffee roasters Seven Miles has been working with organic surf wax company, Good Surf Wax, to do just that. The initiative blends used coffee grounds with petrochemical free, locally sourced beeswax to create an aromatic surf wax that is 100% natural and plastic-free.

5. Gardening guru

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 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.

Related Post: 10 Things to Throw in Your Compost Bin – Some That May Surprise You

6. Clean and sparkling

A coarse texture and a divine smell, the two really go hand in hand when it comes to cleaning. Simply sprinkle grounds on cookware, the grill or inside your sink and scrub as usual (plus, it’s an eco-friendly substitute). While used coffee grounds are great for scouring pots and pans, it is not recommended to use on delicate crockery or anything with a light coloured surface that could easily be stained.

7. The perfect cooking accompaniment

Did you know 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 – the grounds will form a dark, crispy crust. Or, you can rebrew the grounds and use the resulting coffee as a marinade. 

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Recommending reading:

  • 20 Items That Should Be On Your Zero Waste List
  • 30 Facts and Statistics About Plastic to Inspire Your Plastic Free Journey
  • 22 Steps Closer to Zero Waste Living: Disposable Items to Stop Buying Right Now
  • 20 Steps to Plastic-Free Living
  • Daily Sustainable Habits: 7 Ways You Can Reduce Your Waste
  • Bringing Frugality Back: Why Living Frugally is More Sustainable
  • 16 Everyday Items That You Probably Didn’t Know You Could Recycle

Cover image by Nathan Dumlao.

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