Every day there is at least one bunch of used coffee grounds that need to be disposed of at my house, sometimes more. The coffee maker is one of this writer’s best friends.

Used coffee grounds are still full of minerals and vitamins such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium after they’ve been run through the coffee making process. There are many useful ways to recycle coffee grounds, keeping them out of landfills or at least getting one more use from them before they hit the landfill.

  • Mix them with the soil around acid loving plants like raspberries, blueberries, azaleas, rhododendrons, and heather – but don’t go overboard.
  • Add them to compost. The acidity in the grounds will mix well with the dried leaves and garden debris to make a nutrient rich mixture.
  • Sprinkle around plants that are in danger from slugs and snails.
  • Sprinkle the grounds around the base of your house to keep ants out.
  • Dry the grounds in a thin layer on a coffee sheet. Place dried grounds in a container with holes in the lid or in a tied old nylons and use as a deodorizer for the refrigerator.
  • Rub your hands in wet grinds to remove fish, onion or garlic odor.
  • Scrub greasy pots and pans with them – they are a naturally abrasive.
  • Use old grounds as a skin exfoliant – I don’t know if this one actually works but several sources recommended it. Proceed at your own risk. 

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Kitchen recycling tip: Coffee grounds
Those used coffee grounds aren't useless. Recycle them.