As a frequent coffee drinker, you likely throw away a lot of used coffee grounds. While this waste doesn’t necessarily hurt the environment, there’s a better solution that can benefit it while disposing of your leftovers. Composting is an excellent way to create nutrient-rich soil for your garden and reduce your environmental impact. There are a variety of items that can be composted depending on how actively you want to manage your bin or pile. However, no matter what or how you compost, coffee grounds are an easy and helpful material to add.
Adding Coffee Grounds to Your Compost
In short, the answer to “Can you put coffee grounds in compost?” is yes. Not only can you add coffee grounds to any composting setup, but you should. Coffee grounds are beneficial for your soil, and they’re one of the easiest food wastes to compost. Plus, if you’re a daily coffee drinker, you’ll be able to add grounds to your bin or pile regularly.
Although some nutrients are extracted from coffee grounds during the brewing process, many remain even after brewing. These components will enrich your compost soil as the grounds are broken down, benefiting almost any plant. Coffee grounds are particularly rich in nitrogen, one of the three main elements of standard fertilizers. Nitrogen is especially necessary for growing green, leafy plants like lettuces or shrubs. Coffee grounds also benefit all other plants early in their growth, when extra nitrogen is needed to grow leaves that will sustain them throughout the season.
To add coffee to your compost, simply throw your used grounds into your pile and mix them thoroughly. They require no extra care, and you can turn (or not turn) the compost as you normally do. Some composters recommend keeping the grounds moist to ensure they don’t dry out, but this step is entirely optional.
Adding Other Coffee Items to Your Compost Bin
In addition to coffee grounds, you can also expand your composting efforts by adding other coffee-related items to your soil. These may not have high levels of nitrogen like coffee does, but they can still help your compost – and composting is the best way to dispose of them when it’s possible to do so.
However, you can’t just throw any coffee-related item into your pile; it’s crucial to understand what can and should be composted.
Are Coffee Filters Compostable?
Composting coffee filters is certainly possible, and many people add their grounds and filters in together. Not everyone likes to add filters to their compost, though. Whether you include yours depends on the type of paper filters you use and your composting preferences.
White coffee filters – the most common type of paper filter – are bleached. While some people claim that the bleach is sufficiently removed during the brewing process, others believe it remains on the filter afterward.
If you’re concerned about any bleach leaching into your soil, opt for natural, unbleached coffee filters. Not only do these products lack bleach and other chemicals, but they are a more environmentally friendly option and offer several benefits. For example, they are considered a “brown material,” meaning they’re rich in carbon. Successful soil needs a healthy carbon-to-nitrogen balance and adding both paper filters and coffee grounds can help you achieve that goal. Additionally, natural paper filters can control any unpleasant odors and increase oxygen levels in your compost pile.
No matter what type of filter you choose to use and compost, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, filters take a while to break down, so it’s a good idea to shred them before mixing them into your pile. Additionally, you should avoid adding too many at once, as this could throw off the nutrient balance in your compost.
Are K-Cups® Biodegradable?
Wondering how to compost coffee pods? First, you’ll have to separate the main components (the plastic cup, aluminum top, coffee grounds, and paper filter) using the Recycle a Cup® cutter. This is because standard K-Cup® pods aren’t fully biodegradable – the pod and lid aren’t made from materials that will break down in a composting pile. The Recycle a Cup® cutter helps you recycle K-Cup® pods by separating the organic and recyclable materials. Once you’ve cut your pod, you can add the filter and grounds into your compost.
Several manufacturers now make biodegradable coffee pods that can serve as compostable K-Cups® in a Keurig or pod-based brewing machine. Simply throw the pod into your pile after brewing, and it will break down over time.
Make Your Morning Coffee Eco-Friendlier with Help from Recycle a Cup®
No matter how you make your coffee or manage your composting pile, adding coffee grounds can benefit you, your garden, and the environment. Plus, they’re one of the easiest materials to compost!
For more information about composting coffee grounds or other coffee-related items, contact Recycle a Cup® today. Our team is happy to help you start living a cleaner, greener life.