They’re wasted in most households. But did you know there are some great ways to recycle coffee grounds?
By Diane Small
Whether it’s a cozy cuppa on a cold winter’s day or a frozen frappe, the truth is, coffee is always welcome in my household.
And given the amount of pollution generated by coffee shops (those cups are NOT recyclable, people!), I prefer to make my own at home. French press is my thing! But I’m faced with a bit of an issue: tons of coffee grounds.
Luckily, I discovered there are plenty of ways to recycle coffee grounds, from using them in beauty products to helping your plants out. I thought I’d share them with you, here below.
12 Ways To Use Old Coffee Grounds
1. Make a coffee body scrub
Put the antioxidant properties of coffee to good use by creating a simple body scrub. It’s one of the easiest ways to recycle coffee grounds! Simply take around a half cup of coffee grounds, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and mix. Take it into the shower with you and slather it all over your arms and legs. You’ll soon reap the benefits, which include:
- sloughing off dead skin cells
- helping to unclog pores
- promoting brighter skin
And all for just a few pennies! Tip: find a gorgeous jar to put your scrub in. It could make a great gift!
2. Grow better hair
Coffee grounds are great for exfoliating your skin. But their caffeine can also do wonders for hair growth! That’s because it stimulates blood flow to the scalp. And for those who suffer from androcentric alopecia, caffeine can block the conversion of testosterone to DHT, which causes hair loss. To gain these haircare benefits simply work the grounds into your scalp with your fingertips and rinse with cool water. Alternatively, you can soak the grounds along with rosemary (also thought to promote hair growth) in some water. Then put the water in a spray bottle, and soak your scalp nightly.
3. Make compost
Adding compost to your yard or garden can help the soil hold onto more nutrients and water. The result? Better health for your plants. Common items to compost include grass clippings, veggie waste, leaves, shredded cardboard, rotten herbs, egg shells, and fruit. That’s all wonderful for your compost, but adding coffee grounds is even better. For example, one study found that compost made with coffee grounds and kitchen waste was richer in nutrients than compost made without. This is definitely one of the best ways to recycle coffee grounds if you really want to improve the Earth.
4. Create a surf wax
Are you are surfer girl? Save money by making your own surf wax! This might be one of the more unusual ways to recycle coffee grounds, but it’s a good one! All you need is add the grounds to a bit of beeswax and coconut oil. And voila! You’ve got a petrochemical free, aromatic surf wax that is 100% natural.
5. Clean the kitchen
The coarse texture of coffee grounds makes it easy to clean the kitchen with them! All you need to do is sprinkle grounds onto cookware, the grill or inside your sink. and scrub as usual. But note: although coffee grounds are great for scouring pots and pans, they’re is not recommended for anything light coloured that could be stained.
6. Tenderise meat
As a vegan, I didn’t know about this way to recycled coffee grounds. But meat eaters take note! If you add used grounds to your favourite dry-rub recipe, the grounds will form a dark, crispy crust. Apparently. Alternatively, rebrew the grounds and use the resulting liquid as a marinade.
7. Make a natural pesticide
Ditch toxic pesticides and use grounds instead! Did you know that certain compounds found in coffee, such caffeine and diterpenes, can be highly toxic to insects? But luckily, not to pets and humans! Mosquitos, fruit flies, beetles, and other pests just hate coffee. To use coffee grounds as an insect and pest repellent, simply set out bowls of grounds or sprinkle them around outdoor seating areas.
You can also keep pests out of your garden by scattering coffee grounds around your plants. They help create a barrier that slugs and snails do not like to crawl over.
8. Destroy nasty smells
Sure, baking soda works. But one of the best ways to recycle coffee grounds is to use it to destroy nasty smells!
Just like baking soda, coffee grounds help eliminate foul smells. Just place a bowl of coffee grounds in your fridge or freezer to neutralise odours from spoiled or pungent foods. You can also fill old socks or pantyhose with coffee grounds and tie them off to make portable air fresheners. Stick those into smelly places like gym bags, dog beds, shoes, or even your car – anywhere that needs to be freshened up.
9. Make cooking more pleasant
Hate how your hands smell after you’ve been chopping up onions and garlic? Here’s a tip: keep coffee grounds by the sink. You can use them to scrub your hands afterwards. The grounds will help remove the smell from your skin – and will exfoliate it, too!
10. Say goodbye to cellulite
Loads of us suffer from cellulite. This condition happens when fat deposits push through the connective tissue under your skin. Of course, it’s most commonly seen in the butt and thighs. But another of the best ways to recycle coffee grounds is to make a concoction that can get rid of cellulite.
Yep, that’s right! When caffeine such as that in coffee grounds is applied topically, it may help break down this fat and increase blood flow to the area. The result? The reduced appearance of dimpled skin. Simply mix grounds with water or coconut oil. Scrub for 10 minutes twice weekly on any body parts affected by cellulite.
11. Fix scratched wood
Wooden furniture is beautiful. But it can get dings, scuffs and scratches easily. Luckily, one of the ways you can recycle coffee grounds is by making a wood repair paste.
Just make a thick paste with used coffee grounds and water. Then rub the paste into the scratch using a cotton swab. Let it sit for up to 15 minutes, then gently rub it off with a damp rag. Keep dabbing coffee into the scratch using the cotton swab until you get the colour you want. Note that you might have to wait a few hours between applications to achieve it, though.
12. Depuff your eyes
Many things can contribute to the development of dark circles and puffiness under the eyes. These include: fragile blood vessels, poor circulation and inadequate skin quality. But there’s good news! Coffee grounds can help reduce dark shadows and eye bags.
In fact, studies show that the antioxidants and caffeine in coffee grounds can reduce swelling, fight free radicals that contribute to the signs of ageing and reduce under-eye circles.
Want to reap those benefits for yourself? Simply add water or coconut oil to coffee grounds to form a paste. Apply the mixture under your eyes and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Rinse off. Repeat daily or as needed.
Do you have any favourite ways to recycle coffee grounds that we missed? Let us know in the comments, below!