Whether you make your daily cup of coffee with a French press, a pour-over Chemex, or a classic coffee maker, you probably find yourself with a surplus of coffee grounds pretty often. Throwing these down the sink can lead to some serious plumbing problems and throwing them in the trash will cause them to end up in a landfill. Here, the grounds will emit greenhouse gasses, such as methane, which contribute to the climate crisis. So, what is the best way to dispose of them?
While tossing them into the compost is a good zero-waste option, the best thing you can do with coffee grounds is use them in your garden. If you’re a home gardener, here are a couple of ways coffee grounds can benefit your plants to keep them looking lush.
They help fertilize the soil
Coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and copper. That means when you add them to your garden, they can help nourish and fertilize the soil. These elements and minerals also improve drainage, water retention, and aeration, providing a perfect environment for microorganisms and plants.
They deter pests
Another thing coffee grounds are good for is deterring pests such as slugs, rabbits, fire ants, cats, and snails. While gardeners have varying opinions on this, many have found that those animals are not fans of caffeine. So scattering grounds around the plant beds could keep them at bay.
They attract earthworms
On the flip side, another garden “pest” is a big fan of coffee grounds — earthworms. The minerals and elements in the coffee help attract these wiggling creatures to your garden and are essential to making it thrive.
Worms are a gardener’s best friend as they help aerate the soil which makes room for water and air. Their poop – known as vermicastings – also enriches the soil with elements similar to the ones you find in coffee grounds, including nitrates, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus.
Before grabbing those grounds and sprinkling them over your garden make sure to rinse them first. This way, you avoid making your garden too acidic. On top of that, avoid adding coffee grounds at random. Do some research to check which plants can benefit from coffee grounds and which can’t.
If you aren’t into coffee but want to give your garden an extra boost, why not contact a local coffee shop? With all those cups of coffee cafes make every day, they discard a lot of coffee grounds. Many will give them away for free or just for a few dollars. There’s no harm in asking!