Recycling Coffee Grounds: How to Use Leftover Coffee

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Do you simply throw coffee grounds in the trash after brewing them? Your leftovers don’t have to go to waste! There are several ways to repurpose coffee grounds after brewing them, and a number of these methods require minimal effort on your part. Plus, by recycling your coffee grounds instead of throwing them away, you can benefit yourself and the environment.

Ready to learn how? Read on for a few easy ideas to implement at home:

What Are Coffee Grounds Good For?

In addition to creating everyone’s favorite caffeinated beverage, coffee grounds are beneficial for both plants and people. Depending on your interests and the amount of effort you’d like to put in, you can try the following methods:

  • Using Coffee Grounds as Mulch – Coffee grounds make excellent mulch for gardens for a variety of reasons. Specifically, the dark hue visually highlights the vibrant colors of the plants, and the grounds contain chemicals that provide essential nutrition for optimal growth.
  • Using Coffee Grounds for Grass – If you don’t have a garden at home, you can still use coffee grounds to improve your exterior landscape. Just sprinkle leftover coffee over your lawn to give your grass an extra boost.
  • Using Coffee Grounds in Compost – Wondering how to compost coffee grounds? If you already maintain a compost pile or bin, all you need to do is add your used coffee. Composted grounds require no additional care, and they can be used in both basic and more complex composting systems.
  • Using Coffee Grounds for Your Skin – Coffee grounds are a natural exfoliant, making them well-suited for use in body scrubs. Simply mix ground coffee and coconut oil to create a hydrating exfoliant that will leave your skin glowing.

Are Coffee Grounds Good for Plants?

Coffee grounds are good for most plants, although some varieties benefit more from the compounds in leftover grounds than other types do. The most prevalent and beneficial chemical in leftover coffee grounds is nitrogen, which plants need to produce their green leaves. Therefore, plants that have a lot of leaves are most likely to benefit from coffee.

If you grow flowering plants that have little foliage, putting too much coffee into your soil could actually be counterproductive. An overabundance of nitrogen can cause the plants to grow more leaves than they should, which may reduce how much energy goes into producing flowers.

Which Plants Benefit from Coffee Grounds?

Not sure where to put your coffee grounds in your garden? All of the following plants can benefit from the nitrogen in leftover coffee:

  • Grass
  • Green shrubs
  • Trees
  • Blueberries
  • Root vegetables

Another way to determine whether coffee grounds will be good for a plant is to check what type of soil the plant prefers. Those that do well in acidic soil are best-suited for coffee grounds, as the beans have a high acid content.

Are Coffee Grounds Good for Skin?

Coffee grounds are excellent for dry skin, but they shouldn’t be mistaken as a moisturizer. The rough edges of the grounds act as an exfoliant that scrapes away dirt and dead skin, allowing lotions and other products to penetrate the skin more easily. For this reason, coffee grounds should be combined or followed by a moisturizer whenever they’re used as a scrub.

What Can You Do with Keurig® Cup Coffee Grounds?

If you use single-serve coffee pods, you’re in luck: You can still recycle your coffee grounds with any of the methods mentioned above. Leftover Keurig® cup coffee grounds can be used for your garden, lawn, other plants, or your skin. All you have to do is remove the grounds from the pod before recycling them.

The Recycle a Cup® cutter makes removing leftover coffee from Keurig® pods quick and easy. With just one turn of the wrist, the device separates the components of the coffee pod, allowing you to remove the grounds and filter so that you can compost or recycle them.

Are Coffee Pods Recyclable?

If you use a Keurig or similar machine, you’ve likely wondered, “Are coffee pods recyclable?” Most cups can be recycled once they’re separated into various components. The foil cover can usually be sent to a local facility, while the plastic cup may need to be disposed of at a regional facility if your local plant does not process that type of plastic.

Are Coffee Filters Compostable?

Coffee filters generally aren’t recyclable, but many can be composted. Plain, unbleached filters can be thrown in your pile or bin without any additional care. Bleached options can also be added to your composting setup, though some people worry about bleach leaching into their soil.

Ready to Start Reusing Your Leftover Coffee? Recycle a Cup® Can Help

If you drink coffee on a regular basis, recycling your grounds can make a significant impact on the environment over time. Start reusing your coffee grounds today, and you’ll make the world a better place tomorrow.

For more information about reusing coffee grounds or the Recycle a Cup® cutter, contact us today!

How To Compost Tea Bags

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If you’re a coffee drinker, you might already know that composting coffee grounds is a great way to benefit the environment. However, if you prefer tea from time to time, you’ve likely wondered if your used tea leaves and bags can be added to your composting pile, too.

Composting tea bags is an environmentally-friendly practice that all tea drinkers should consider incorporating in their daily routines. Tea is a natural, organic material that’s rich in nutrients, and it’s easy to add to a compost pile.

Read on to learn how to compost tea leaves and tea bags at home.

Are Tea Leaves Compostable?

All tea leaves are compostable, and even those left over after brewing still have viable nutrients that will benefit your soil. Like coffee grounds, tea leaves are particularly rich in nitrogen, which is needed to grow foliage. While all plants need at least some nitrogen in their soil, green and leafy types benefit the most from it.

Can I Compost Tea Bags?

Composting tea bags is a little more complicated than composting pure tea leaves. Therefore, understanding what materials are compostable requires a basic knowledge of tea bag construction.

There are a few different types of tea bags that you might use. Standard paper tea bags are largely compostable, but a few of their parts won’t break down in your soil. Here’s an overview of each component and whether or not you can add it to your compost pile:

  • Paper – The paper used in standard tea bags is fully compostable.
  • String – The string used in standard tea bags is fully compostable.
  • Staple – The staple that secures the paper tag to the string is not
  • Adhesive – The adhesive used to heat-seal the edge of the paper tea bag is not compostable.

Pyramid tea bags, on the other hand, are made from a corn-derived plastic called PET, and many aren’t compostable. Bags that have PET in them should be recycled instead. A few companies offer biodegradable pyramid tea bags. They have the same shape as standard pyramid bags, which allows the leaves to unfurl during brewing, but aren’t made from PET. Instead, they’re constructed from a different corn-derived material that is fully biodegradable, meaning they can be thrown in your compost pile.

Paper tea sachets that are used for loose leaf tea can be fully composted. These are made out of compostable paper and don’t include a stapled tag or heat-sealed edge.

Composting Tea Bags

No matter what type of tea bag you use to brew, aim to compost as much of it as you can. To do this, remove any non-compostable components, such as the staple, adhesive, or PET bag, and compost the rest. With PET pyramid bags, you may only be able to cut open the bag and compost the tea that’s within. Meanwhile, with biodegradable pyramid tea bags, the entire item can be composted.

The most difficult tea bag to compost is the standard paper variety. If you use these products, you’ll have to remove the staple and cut away the edge where the paper is sealed. The staple can be recycled, and the edge should be discarded in the trash. Compost the remaining paper and string.

How to Compost Tea Bags with Coffee Grounds

Composting tea bags with existing coffee grounds is easy. Simply add the compostable tea and tea bag components to your pile. There are no other actions you’ll have to take, as the worms that break down coffee compost will also break down the tea leaves and other materials.

Tea can be added to a compost bin in the kitchen, a composting barrel in the yard, a pile in your garden, or anywhere else that you’re already composting coffee grounds. The process can be as basic or complex as you want it to be, and tea will integrate well with any composting system you have in place.

Learn More About Making Coffee and Tea Habits Environmentally Friendly

Recycle a Cup® is here to help you add an eco-friendly touch to your coffee and tea experiences. Not only do we offer the Recycle a Cup® cutter, which allows you to dispose of used coffee pods safely and responsibly, but we also have a number of educational resources on our website. Be sure to check out our other blog posts on how to compost coffee pods, the benefits of composting coffee, and other topics. You can also review our frequently asked questions section, which provides details about the Recycle a Cup® cutter, recycling coffee pods, and more.

Whether you prefer to drink tea or coffee throughout the day, making it a habit to compost your leaves, grounds, bags, or pods can have a significant impact on the environment. Although one tea bag or coffee pod might seem small, turning a daily habit into a composting practice will have long-term benefits for the world around you.

For more information about composting coffee and tea or how to use the Recycle a Cup® cutter, contact us today! We’re happy to answer your questions and help you make your brewing experience more eco-friendly.

Can Coffee Grounds Be Composted?

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Coffee is grown in some of the world’s most fertile regions, and many of the nutrients from the soil remain within the grounds after brewing. Therefore, composting used coffee grounds is an excellent way to infuse your gardening soil with these leftover nutrients.

The Guide To Composting Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds can be added to most compost piles and offers an effective way to increase your compost’s nitrogen content. Nitrogen is one of the three main elements in most fertilizers and is particularly useful when growing green, leafy plants. Grasses, leaves, and many ground covers need nitrogen-rich soil, as well.

Due to its high nitrogen content, coffee composting is a good idea when developing compost to start seedlings in, sprinkle around shrubs or ground cover, or use early in the season before plants produce flowers.

If green growth isn’t your main objective, however, any coffee compost should be well-balanced with compost from other materials. This provides a rounded ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (the three main fertilizer ingredients).

How Can You Compost Coffee?

If you already have a compost pile in your home or garden, simply add coffee grounds to the existing compost each time you brew coffee. Because the grounds break down easily, there’s no special turning required.

Don’t have an existing composting pile? Setting one up is quite simple. Start by ordering redworms, which are preferred by most seasoned composters. Then, combine the worms and some dirt or shredded newspaper in a container or a specific spot in your yard or garden. Finally, add food scraps, coffee grounds, and other biodegradable components as you see fit.

Are Coffee Filters Compostable?

In addition to leftover coffee grounds, used coffee filters can also be added to your composting pile. Although they might take slightly longer to break down than coffee grounds, the worms will still process them without issue. Both bleached and unbleached paper filters can be added to your coffee compost, although some prefer to avoid adding bleached products to their piles.

Composting coffee filters is an effective way to help balance the nitrogen in the coffee grounds. While you may not want to rely solely on filters to provide a well-balanced chemical composition in your compost soil, paper sources like these play an important role.

Can You Add Keurig® Waste to Compost?

Wondering how to compost coffee pods? Just like traditional coffee grounds, the leftover grounds and paper filters found inside Keurig pods are compostable. However, because they are encased in a plastic cup, they require an additional step.

Before you can add Keurig coffee pod grounds to your compost bin or pile, you must separate the grounds and filter from the rest of the pod (including the plastic cup and aluminum top). The easiest way to do this is by using the Recycle a Cup® cutter. This safe and easy-to-use device removes the top of the pod so that you can access the materials within it.

Follow  these instructions to use the cutter:

  1. Place the cutter on top of the used coffee pod.
  2. Rotate one full turn.
  3. Lift the cutter, and the pod’s top will be separated.
  4. Pull out the coffee filter containing the grounds.

Small rotating blades in the cutter effortlessly remove the top of the pod while your hands stay safely protected. Once you separate the cup’s components, you can put the filter and coffee grounds in your compost pile. The aluminum top and plastic pod can be recycled according to your local recycling guidelines. Keep in mind that not all recycling facilities can process the plastic used for coffee pods, so you might need to send your leftover cups to a regional plant.

Can You Compost Sustainable K-Cups®?

Several companies make compostable coffee pods, although these aren’t as widely available as traditional options. If you purchase recyclable coffee pods, the entire pod can be discarded in your compost pile without separating it. However, to ensure your compost breaks down effectively, it’s still best to remove the inner grounds and filter from the cup.

Ready to Begin Composting Your Coffee Grounds? Recycle a Cup® Can Help

Composting coffee grounds is a great way to make your daily brewing more environmentally friendly. The process is simple and only takes a few minutes, so you can help conserve our environment without disrupting your day. All you have to do is brew your coffee, place the leftover grounds in a compost pile or bin, and let them break down naturally! With every cup of coffee you enjoy, you’ll help enrich your soil and lead a greener lifestyle.

If you’d like to start composting your coffee grounds, Recycle a Cup® can help. Contact us to learn more about composting coffee and how our Recycle a Cup® cutter can further streamline the process.

Coffee Composting: Can You Put Coffee Grounds in Compost?  

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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.

Learn How to Recycle K-Cup© Pods

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Recycle K-Cups

PROBLEM

Coffee.  It’s how millions of us start every day.  More and more of us are using convenient Keurig® brewers and K-Cup® pods to deliver our delicious morning brew. The truth is most people are not aware that these little pods are not recyclable when they are intact.  Sadly, most of the coffee pods end up in landfills, not decomposing.  This is a growing and significant environmental concern.  Just look at the numbers*:

  • Nearly 30% of US households own a single serve brewer
  • An estimated 20 billion pods will be consumed this year and most will wind up in landfills
  • That’s enough waste to circle the earth nearly 12 times

SOLUTION

Now, the reality is you CAN recycle the pods if the plastic, aluminum and coffee grounds are separated with the Recycle A Cup® cutter.  In just a few easy steps, you will be able to recycle your K-Cup® pod plastic & foil and even use the grinds as compost…it’s just that simple!  In fact, Recycle A Cup has been featured in Real Simple magazine as a great way to make over un-ecofriendly habits!

are k cups recyclable recyclable k cups

HOW IT WORKS

Medelco’s Recycle A Cup cutter is an innovative solution to this problem. The patented device allows for easy separation of single serve coffee pods, including K-Cup© pods, with just three quick and easy steps:

Recycle K-Cups

How To Recycle Coffee Pods

Step 1: Load the pod into the Recycle A Cup cutter

Step 2: Twist Recycle A Cup one full turn around the pod

Step 3: Separate the pod and recycle

  • Re-purpose or Recycle the plastic.
  • Recycle the aluminum top.
  • Compost the filter paper and coffee grinds.

Recycle K-Cup Video

Even if you throw out the pod top with the filter still attached, the filter and coffee grinds can now decompose vs. being trapped in the plastic and you are still making a nice environmental contribution.

You may also want to consider re-purposing your used pods.  There are many creative ways to craft with your used K-Cup pods after they have been separated with Recycle A Cup. Visit Pinterest for awesome ideas on how to reuse your coffee pods, especially for the upcoming holidays.

 

Recycle K-Cups

 

The Recycle A Cup® cutter works with the majority of coffee pod designs such as K-Cup® and similar brands.  However, not all coffee pods are designed exactly the same.  Recycle A Cup works best with Keurig licensed K-Cup pods.  Results with other pods may vary.

As with any blade those in the Recycle A Cup will dull over time. The Recycle A cup is designed to last 6 weeks depending on use and is fully recyclable once finished using.

* National Coffee Data Trends 3/22/13; Green Lodging News 8/9/15

Recycle A Cup® and Medelco Inc. are not affiliated with Keurig®, Green Mountain Coffee® or Keurig Green Mountain, Inc.