The Impact of Waste Coffee Grounds

Oct 22, 2020 | One small change, Sustainability

Did you know that waste coffee thrown into your general waste is 25 times more powerful and destructive than the carbon emitted from putting it into the compost bin?  I think a lot of people (me included!) would not have appreciated the magnitude of this fact.  The reason is that waste coffee mixed into general waste will create methane gas which is a particularly nasty greenhouse gas if it escapes into the atmosphere; and if it goes to a landfill, there’s a good chance that’s what will happen.

So what should we do if we don’t have a compost bin collection?  The good news is that waste ground coffee makes great fertiliser for plants and trees.

Waste coffee grounds contain nitrogen, which is an essential plant nutrient, as well as potassium and phosphorus; these are the normal ingredients of shop bought plant fertiliser. The quantity and proportions of these nutrients varies, but to use coffee grounds as a fertilizer, sprinkle them thinly onto your soil, or add them to your compost heap. If you decide to sprinkle them directly onto the soil, scatter them into the soil with your hand or small rake so that they don’t form a buffer preventing water from soaking into the soil and root system of the plant.

If you have a larger quantity or opt to use them at a later point, put them into your composting container with any compostable coffee cups, leaf litter or old newspapers to  get a better balance to your compost. Coffee grounds compost really quickly so this will speed up the process for the other compostable items in there too.  Incidentally the compost heap is a great place for insects to hang out in which will help with the biodiversity in your garden! Win Win Win

This is a small choice today but cumulatively it makes a big difference in terms of our carbon footprint and our impact on the environment.   Would you like to make a difference?

#sustainability #biodiversity #woodlandcoffee #wastecoffee #composting