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13 Ways Coffee Waste Can Be Recycled

Have you realized that the coffee grounds you throw away every day can be upcycled for numerous purposes? Check out this list to find out how. 

Did you know that the global community consumes around 2 billion cups of coffee every day? What’s staggering about this number is that more than half of the coffee grounds produced in the process are thrown away unsustainably. 

coffee waste recycling

Consequently, we currently have six million tonnes of coffee grounds decomposing and releasing methane inside landfills. Unfortunately, methane has the worst impact when it comes to global warming, with approximately 86 times the greenhouse effect potential compared to carbon dioxide. 

However, you can easily do your bit to stop these poisonous gases from entering the atmosphere by incorporating a few good habits into your lifestyle. To start with, by making sure you’re using sustainable beans from brands like Moriondo Coffee.

Moriondo logo

Believe it or not, coffee grounds are still quite helpful after you have brewed your cup of coffee. Check out this list below for excellent coffee waste recycling options. 

Best Ways For Coffee Waste Recycling

Yes, the environmental crisis attributed to the unsustainable disposal of coffee grounds is real, but luckily, it is not entirely ignored by the global community.  

Whether it is in the form of a coffee grounds recycling program or creating unique ways to reuse coffee, there have been multiple breakthroughs in this sector. 

If you want to dispose of your coffee waste sustainably or contribute towards coffee waste products, here’s a list of ways coffee waste can be recycled. 

Coffee Grounds Ink

This is perhaps the coolest product I came across while looking for products made from coffee grounds. The residue you usually throw out after your cup of morning coffee still has a natural pigment that can be used to create inks and dyes for artwork and commercial purposes. 

Currently, there’s a company called Riti Coffee Printer working on printers that use coffee grounds to generate ink. This concept can potentially tackle the coffee waste problem and the unnecessary waste created through ink production in commercial printers. 

Journeys in Natural Dyeing

Similarly, if you want to use the rustic coffee hues at home, you can simply soak the grounds in warm water to achieve a natural dye. Later, you can use this dye to color fabrics, paper, or even dye your Easter eggs. 

Recycled Utensils

Another coffee waste recycling technique that’s gaining immense popularity among the sustainable community is turning it into recycled cutlery. While numerous companies worldwide produce utensils like cups, plates, and mugs from coffee grounds, you can even DIY the process at home. 

Resin Mold and Jewelry Box Resin Molds

If you’re wondering how to make cups from coffee grounds, the process is relatively easy. First, however, you will have to invest in high-quality DIY cup molds and a strong natural edible glue of your choice.

Fond Glue

After that, all you have to do is mix the glue with dried coffee grounds and inject it into your mold to give your waste a second life. Although homemade coffee waste cups are not very durable, they will last you quite some time if you avoid using them with hot substances. 

See Related: Best Compostable Plates: Eco-Friendly Options to Buy

Furniture and Household Items

If you’re unsure about making cups and plates out of coffee grounds for personal use, there are many other DIY projects you can take up to recycle the waste products. For example, a designer from Melbourne recently started a company that makes decoration pieces like lamps, candlesticks, and vases from coffee grounds. 

Taking inspiration, you can DIY the products at home using the same technique you would while making utensils. The best part is, not only are these household items durable and sustainable, but they also give a soothing coffee aroma to your home. 

Homemade Fertilizer

If you’re wondering how to reuse coffee grounds produced at your home every day, creating a homemade fertilizer is the ideal option. Even renowned coffee chains like Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts have started to recycle their coffee grounds and even sell them to customers to use in their backyards. 

But that doesn’t mean you should dump your coffee grounds straight into your garden. Coffee grounds contain high levels of chlorogenic acid, tannins, and, most importantly, caffeine, which can harm your plants. 

The ideal way is to compost the coffee grounds for at least 90-100 days until the toxins subside. If composted the right way, coffee grounds can provide ample nutrients to assist plant growth. 

VIVOSUN Tumbling Composter

These include nitrogen, potassium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium. Besides that, they absorb heavy metals from the soil and attract worms that contribute to your plants’ overall well-being.  

You can even save on coffee by doing alternate projects to get free food. This can help you afford more expensive coffee without stretching past your budget.

Mushroom Growth Substrate

Even if you are blessed with a green thumb, chances are you’ve never thought of growing mushrooms in your garden. Mostly because mushrooms require specific conditions to grow, which makes them challenging to produce. 

Unlike other plants, mushrooms don’t grow in soil. Instead, you’ll need to spread out a layer of the substrate to help them thrive. That’s where coffee grounds come in. 

One of the best recycled coffee waste uses is that they help create a nutritious substrate for mushrooms. When you use them to brew your cup of coffee, you have already sterilized the coffee grounds. Meaning, they are quite ready to begin your mushroom-growing process by default. 

You can start your coffee waste recycling journey by collecting around 2 kgs of ground and adding half a kg of mushroom spores and sawdust to it. After that, place the mixture into a large bucket. 

North Spore

Cut holes in your bucket above the coffee grounds mixture and spray it with water once every day. When tiny mushroom buds start to poke out, shift the bucket to an area with extra light and fresh air. And that’s it. 

Wait for the mushroom caps to turn up and harvest them when they’re mature. You can use this procedure to grow any kind of mushroom, including shitake and oysters. 

Natural Insect Repellent

If you have kids and pets around the house, you must be highly concerned about using toxic insect repellents. Luckily, the caffeine and diterpenes found in coffee grounds are completely organic and work well as insect repellents. 

All you need to do is set out used coffee grounds around your home in bowls or small containers. You can even sprinkle them around your seating area in the garden or pool area to keep insects away. 

Coffee grounds are found effective at repelling most household pests. These include mosquitos, beetles, and even fruit flies. Also, you can use them as a natural pesticide for your plants. 

Scatter them across your garden to keep creepy crawlies like slugs and snails away from your rose bushes and vegetable patch. However, if your coffee grounds are not composted, make sure you only scatter a minimal amount so that they don’t damage your plants. 

Organic Skin Exfoliator

Apart from being beneficial for your garden and your home, coffee grounds are also beneficial for your skin. Popular cosmetic companies are rapidly using coffee grounds in their scrubs and soaps as exfoliating agents. 

Natural Coffee Scrub

Not only does this help reduce coffee waste, but it also provides a rich scent to the products and is an organic alternative to invasive ingredients. In addition, the coarse particles in the grounds help remove dead cells and accumulated dirt easily from your skin. 

If you want to recycle your coffee grounds rather than purchase high-end coffee beauty products, you can easily make a DIY coffee scrub at home. Just rub the coffee grounds on your skin with some coconut oil, honey, or even water. 

Coffee also increases the blood flow to your skin and supplies it with essential antioxidants to combat sun damage. 

Abrasive Hair Wash

Do you commonly use styling products and are concerned about the build-up on your scalp? Then you have the ideal method for coffee waste recycling that can also solve your problem. 

Apart from being coarse and abrasive enough to remove dandruff and residue from your hair, coffee grounds also provide essential nutrients. These include potassium and nitrogen which aid healthy hair growth. 

O Naturals Scalp Bar Soap

Similarly, these grounds are rich in natural oils, which keeps them from inflicting any harsh after-effects or damage to your hair. Simply exfoliate your hair with recycled coffee grounds from your morning cup and rinse it out with clean water. 

Remember, you should limit this practice to around two or three times a week to avoid any damage or extra abrasions on your scalp.

Solution for Cellulite

If you think you’re the only one with lumpy and dimpled skin around your thighs and buttocks, you’re wrong. This condition results due to cellulite build-up beneath the connective tissue of your skin. 

Surprisingly, it affects around 80-90% of all adult women. With their specific qualities that help increase blood flow toward the skin, coffee grounds can help reduce the appearance of cellulite when applied topically. 

Besides that, massaging coffee grounds onto areas affected by cellulite for about 10 minutes every day can break down the fat deposits underneath the skin and make it appear smoother. 

Make a DIY coffee grounds scrub by adding honey or coconut oil. Then, use it on the affected areas regularly to see visible benefits. 

Remove Scratches from Your Furniture

Another great way to coffee waste recycling is using it to repair scratched furniture. Wooden furniture can easily get scratched and scuffed, especially if you have pets and toddlers around. 

Moreover, repairing these scratches professionally can be quite costly if they occur regularly. That’s why, before taking your furniture to your manufacturer, try using recycled coffee grounds first. 

Due to its dark pigmentation, coffee grounds stain the scratched area perfectly, so it doesn’t stand out from the unaffected areas. Simply make a paste using coffee grounds and water, and apply it to the scratch. 

Leave the paste on for a few minutes, then wipe it off. If you feel the exposed wood is not pigmented enough to conceal the scratch, repeat the application multiple times. 

Treat Flea Infestations

You can recycle used coffee grounds by using them to treat flea infestations in your pests. If your pets have sensitive skin, they can get severe infections and skin damage from harsh chemicals in commercial flea repellents. 

To avoid these side effects and extra costs while disposing of your coffee waste sustainably, you can use this natural alternative. Fleas don’t really like coffee, so using it on your pet’s fur can repel them easily. 

Make a coffee ground paste by adding honey or oil of your choice. Next, rub it on your pet’s skin after a bath. Apart from repelling fleas, this will also improve the appearance and quality of your pet’s fur. 

However, if the flea infestation gets serious, using coffee grounds is not an alternative for proper medical treatment. Instead, refer to your vet if the situation gets worse. 

Air Fresheners

If you’re collecting your everyday coffee grounds for recycling, you can upcycle them as air fresheners or odor-neutralizers. Coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen, which makes them great for eliminating foul odors. 

Got a nasty smell in your fridge? Place coffee grounds in a bowl and store them in your fridge to eliminate the odor. Are your hands still smelly even after you washed them? Rub them with coffee grounds to get rid of the smell immediately. 

Coffee Beans Car Perfume

Furthermore, you can use coffee grounds to freshen up old sneakers, closets, bedside drawers, and even your car interior. Along with emitting an earthy scent, coffee grounds neutralize the substances that cause bad smells. This ultimately freshens the air in their surroundings. 


Believe it or not, producing energy from coffee grounds is one of the best commercial approaches to recycling them and ensuring their sustainable disposal. 

Coffee beans are loaded with natural oils, which do not always make it into your brewed cup of coffee. You might have seen a shiny layer of grease on the top of your coffee cup. But, a considerable percentage of the oils are left behind in the residual coffee grounds. 

These natural oils can be extracted industrially and used as biofuel. Recently, Dunkin’ Donuts proposed this plan by developing a fully-powered home run on fuels generated by coffee grounds. 

The best part is that the extraction of these oils does not result in any toxic by-products. This makes the option highly sustainable for large-scale use.

While many products like plates, cups, furniture, and paper are made from coffee grounds, you can recycle them in numerous other ways as well. 

However, do your research before incorporating any of these techniques into your lifestyle. Make sure you know the proper procedure, including its pros and cons. This way, you can get a clear idea of whether the recycling process is suitable for you or not.