Reuse & Recycle Your Cup of Jo: How to Use Leftover Coffee Grounds in Your Garden

If you’re like many people across the globe, you start your day with a cup of fresh coffee. Of course, after every cup of jo you enjoy, there are used grounds left behind. Rather than throwing these in the trash, there are a variety of ways to reuse your brewed coffee grounds around your home. 

Below, we’re discussing three simple options for using coffee grounds in your garden – let’s take a look!

Compost Your Coffee Grounds to Enrich the Soil

While some nutrients leach out of coffee grounds during the brewing process, many remain even after they’ve been used. A number of these are beneficial to plans, making coffee grounds an ideal addition to your garden’s soil.

Specifically, coffee is rich in nitrogen – one of the three main elements in fertilizers. This nutrient is particularly good for leafy plants like lettuces, rhubarb, and shrubs. However, almost every plant can benefit from at least some amount of nitrogen, as it’s a main component in chlorophyll (the compound they use to turn sunlight into energy).

Coffee composting is an easy way to increase the amount of nitrogen in your soil, especially if you already have a garden composting pile. Simply add your used coffee grounds to the pile and continue to manage it as usual. Because they’re made of plant matter, the grounds will break down quickly and enrich the overall quality of your soil in the process. Additionally, if you want to use coffee grounds for indoor plants, simply mix some into the planting soil. However, you don’t want to add too much; just a sprinkle is enough.

If you don’t already have a composting system in place, don’t worry! Both piles and bins are relatively easy to start. First, purchase some worms (red wigglers work well) and put them in a mound or container of dirt. Then, add your coffee grounds and any other organic material. Over time, the worms will break down the items in your composting pile, leaving you with nutrient-filled soil.

Keep Unwanted Insects Away from Your Plants

Did you know that caffeine is a naturally occurring pesticide? In fact, its primary function within the coffee plant is to prevent pests from eating it. This means that you can use leftover coffee grounds to keep garden pests at bay. While a significant amount of caffeine seeps out of the grounds during the brewing process, there is still enough left over to make your garden less desirable to insects.

So, if you have unwanted bugs or insects munching on your plants, just sprinkle some coffee grounds on or near your garden. The caffeine in the grounds will deter the pests from the area. Coffee is effective for repelling most common insects aside from the borer beetle, which lives on caffeine. You shouldn’t have to worry about this bug, though, as it’s only found in regions where coffee grows naturally.

Reuse Coffee Pods for Seedlings

When it’s time to plant new seedlings in the spring, you can reuse coffee pods and their leftover grounds to create mini planters. To do this, use a K-Cup® recycling tool like the Recycle a Cup® cutter. This device allows you to separate the pod into different pieces.

To turn the coffee cup into a seedling starter, follow these steps:

  1. Use a cutting tool to remove the top of the pod.
  2. Recycle the aluminum lid. Be sure to check if your local recycling plant processes aluminum beforehand.
  3. Remove the paper filter and coffee grounds. Place the filter in your composting pile and set the grounds aside.
  4. Fill the plastic cup with a mixture of potting soil and coffee grounds.
  5. Plant seeds like you would in a standard seedling starter.
  6. Place the cup on a plate, baking dish, or another item that will catch water. Opt for glass materials to avoid rust.
  7. Care for the seedlings as you normally would.

When your seedlings are big enough, transfer them to a larger pot or directly into your garden. This is a great way to reuse and recycle all of the components of your morning brew!

Make Your Morning Coffee More Sustainable by Reusing Your Grounds

Whether you’re a novice gardener or have spent years finetuning your green thumb, you can use coffee grounds to enrich your home garden. Not only is this an excellent way to grow healthier plants, but you’ll also feel great knowing that you’ve done something positive for the environment.

Author Bio

At Recycle a Cup®, we love coffee and the convenience of coffee pods – but what we don’t like is how most end up in landfills, as they’re not recyclable in their natural form. That’s why we created a product that cuts and separates used coffee pods so they can be recycled and reused.