7 ways to reuse coffee grounds for a zero waste kitchen

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Courtesy Seven Miles Coffee Roasters

As a nation of coffee lovers, it’s no surprise to read that Australians drink an average of 175 cups of coffee a year. And while we all know the importance of reusable cups and other sustainable options, many don’t know how much coffee grounds are wasted.

However, since many of us make our coffee at home in lockdown, there are plenty of opportunities to get creative and reuse used coffee grounds to give it a new 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 use their used coffee grounds more sustainably:

1. The coffee peeling

Your humble coffee grounds have a myriad of beauty benefits thanks to their antioxidant properties. A used coffee grounds beauty hack is a simple but effective body scrub to use at home. In addition to the coffee grounds, you can add a tablespoon of brown sugar and a tablespoon of a natural oil such as peppermint essential oil. The brown sugar helps the scrub stick together, and oils help moisturize.

Related post: Nonprofit Founder Vanessa Pope on helping cafes and coffee lovers transition to a reusable, plastic-free experience

Photo: Monstera production.

2. Foam on

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

3. Always a good hair day

Great for your skin and works wonders for your hair and scalp too. The invigorating effects of coffee can be felt when used in your hair care routine. Simply work the soil into the scalp with your fingertips and rinse with cold water. Some studies suggest that the caffeine in coffee grounds may even stimulate hair growth.

4. Surfing is on

If you’re a regular beach goer and avid surfer, you can even make your own surf wax from coffee grounds – all you need is beeswax and coconut oil. As part of his Seven miles in the right direction Program, Australian coffee specialty roasters Seven miles worked with an organic surf wax company, Good surf waxto do just that. The initiative mixes used coffee grounds with petrochemical-free beeswax from the region to create an aromatic surf wax that is 100% natural and plastic-free.

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5. Garden Guru

Who would have thought that your used coffee grounds would be your best friend in the garden. When 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 fertilizer, it helps add organic matter to the soil, which improves drainage, water retention, and aeration of the soil.

Related Post: 10 Things to Throw in Your Compost Bin – Some That Might 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. Just sprinkle the bottom on cookware, the grill, or in your sink and scrub as you normally would (and it’s an eco-friendly replacement). While used coffee grounds are great for scrubbing pots and pans, it is not recommended to use them on delicate dishes or other items with a light-colored surface that could easily stain.

7. The perfect accompaniment to cooking

Did you know that coffee contains an enzyme that softens meat and improves its taste? For your next BBQ, try adding your used crust to a dry-rub recipe – the crust forms a dark, crispy crust. Or you can brew the coffee grounds again and use the resulting coffee as a marinade.

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Cover picture of Nathan Dumlao.

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