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:
- Place the cutter on top of the used coffee pod.
- Rotate one full turn.
- Lift the cutter, and the pod’s top will be separated.
- 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.
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.
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
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!
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:
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.
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.
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.