If you’re like most people, you likely throw your coffee grounds in the trash. There aren’t a lot of other options. However, that may soon change. In the meantime, there are ways to be a little more environmentally friendly.
According to Science Daily, researchers at Lancaster University have found a method to extract oils from used coffee grounds that makes them a competitive choice for making biofuel. This option is attractive because often crops are grown for the sole purpose of making biofuels like biodiesel. If we use something like used coffee grounds for fuel, then no additional crops need to be planted to create fuel. That means fewer pesticides and fertilizers in our waterways and less land being taken up by agriculture.
This is all still in the experimental stage, however. There are things you can do now so that your coffee grounds don’t go to waste. The last thing you want to do is overfill the College Station landfill if you have other options.
- Throwing damp coffee grounds onto your compost heap doesn’t just add nutrients, it adds moisture. A proper balance of moisture is an important aspect of keeping all of the decomposers in your compost happy and active.
- Coffee grounds are acidic. If you have plants like azaleas, then they will appreciate the shot of acid from the grounds. If your ground is overly basic, you can use a lot of ground directly. If the ground is just shy of the perfect acid content, mix the grounds with something more neutral like straw or old leaves.
- Odor reduction. If you place used coffee grounds in a sealed bag and poke holes in the side that will be facing up, then you have a way to reduce any odors in places like your refrigerator.
- Staining. You can use coffee grounds to make a wood stain. If there’s a light-colored scratch on a stained piece of furniture, you could try using coffee to make it a little darker. You can either let the damp grounds sit directly on the wood for a short time (careful not to damage an existing finish) or place unfinished wood in a mixture of water and old coffee grounds.
- Natural insect repellant. If you put coffee grounds around the plants in your garden, they won’t just benefit from the nutrients. Coffee grounds scare away some insects and other pests.
- Cat repellant. If cats are getting into your garden, mix coffee grounds with orange peels and place them in your garden. It will feed the plants and repulse cats. It’s a win-win for you and your plants.
- Abrasive. If you need an abrasive to clean your sink or some pans, coffee grounds can do the trick. Considering you won’t likely feel up to cleaning until after some coffee, it’s perfect timing.
Using coffee as biofuels may not happen anytime soon, but you don’t have to wait to use your used coffee grounds. Repurposing old coffee grounds is a quick and easy way to be environmentally friendly. Reducing the amount of waste puts out will reduce your ecological footprint.