11 Profitable Things You Can Do With Used Coffee Grounds

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The increasing demand for coffee has led to the fast-growing of coffee shops and coffee producers worldwide. However, it results in large amounts of coffee waste produced that will somewhat become solid waste if not wisely and fully utilized.

The waste we produce when we brew our beloved coffee can impact the environment. We usually discard and dispose these spent coffee grounds in the garbage, thinking they have no use anymore.

But nowadays, there are many things you can do about it aside from drinking. Waste from the coffee grounds can be a solution for your social, environmental, and even financial problems.


  1. Fertilizer
  2. Compost
  3. Insect Repelants
  4. Deodorizer
  5. Skin Care
  6. Homemade Candles
  7. Cleaning Scrubs
  8. Natural Dye for T-shirt Printing
  9. Foodstuffs
  10. Meat Tenderizer
  11. Accessories and Furnitures

Why Should You Recycle Used Coffee Grounds?

Most importantly, you know there is something you could do and could have every day with it that’s free. Aside from those benefits to gain, there are many reasons why everyone should start recycling used coffee grounds.

To Utilize the Full Coffee’s Benefits

If you think you’ve already used the full potential and efficiency of coffee grounds after it’s brewed, you’re definitely missing out on some of the incredible benefits of it.

According to experts, only less than 2% of the coffee ground’s composition is being used when brewing coffee. And about 99% of its physical property is considered a waste. Well, what would you expect if the only thing you do is to extract the flavor?

However, you can transform that thing, we considered as waste, into something worthy. It’s a wasted opportunity if that 99% of the coffee grounds’ composition is just thrown away.

To Make Money

If you know how to utilize your coffee’s full potential, that would be a beneficial resource to start a business and make money.

As mentioned above, coffee grounds are incredibly beneficial in different ways. However, too many individuals and even businesses ignore the potential offered opportunities.

Sure, not everybody has the skill and knowledge to start their ideas. It may even take time before one can generate additional revenue with it.

But with a persistent, creativity, and innovative mind, you can transform used grounds into a sustainable, super cool, and profitable product that you can sell. Some fantastic companies recycle coffee grounds and turn them into something more productive and useful, making it profitable as well.

To Help the Environment

The most important thing is that you’re helping the environment. Recycling your spent coffee grounds will help save our planet.

Engaging with sustainable and biodegradable materials, such as recycling used ground coffee, is one way to become an environmentally friendly person. Being committed to natural and eco-friendly products is more palpable than using harmful chemicals and lab-manufactured ingredients for developing a scrub, cream, and so on.

So, why not recycle those and use them as natural, alternative, and sustainable materials incorporated with other products. In the end, you’re not just saving your time and making money, but you’re also contributing to preserving the environment.

11 Things You Can Do with Used Coffee Grounds

Some individuals, groups, or companies discover these phenomenal ideas and products. The used coffee grounds can be transformed into creams, scrubs, furniture, accessories, etc.

So, it’s great to enable your creativity and utilize the full coffee’s benefits.

1. Fertilizer

Grounds are a great help in improving plant growth. Spent coffee grounds have been widely used to improve the physicochemical properties or structure of the soil. Some of the compounds of it absorb or amend heavy metals that contaminate soil or water.

According to particular research, it’s possible to include used ground coffee as fertilizer in a home garden or agriculture. Coffee contains essential minerals such as oils, calcium, potassium, iron, and other compounds that make the soil more acidic. The more acidic the soil is, the greater potentials it has to increase soil nutrients and fertility.

So, with that being said, you can start making your own natural fertilizer at home. This is a great idea and can be scaled into a business. You can thrive with it as it’s not that too competitive.

2. Compost

Used coffee grounds can be recycled as an addition to your compost pile. You can mix the grounds into other organic elements such as food scraps and dry leaves for later use.

You can use them as an immediate fertilizer application, but this rich material is an excellent nitrogen source for composting. It means that the more you enrich the coffee grounds, the more enzymes are created in the compost.

One study showed that the presence of coffee grounds in vermicomposting (different combinations of treatments) produced a higher percentage of nutrient elements that helped enhance the vermicompost quality.

3. Insect Repellants 

Spent coffee grounds can also be a solution to your problems with mosquitos and other insects. The elements present in it are considered effective in keeping mosquitos, pests, and annoying insects away. That is because of the potent aroma compounds of coffee that help repel those insects.

So, it’s even better if the coffee grounds are burned. They will emit a more pungent smell, which will bother the pests and keep them away. 

4. Deodorizer

Coffee grounds are an excellent natural deodorizer, whether for the refrigerator, car, bathroom, or even hygiene. They contain nitrogen, which is necessary to help neutralize or even eliminate odors from the air. Once placed inside your fridge or car, they absorb the bad smell and get rid of it.

Once dried, they still retain their aromatic smell. Dried coffee can actually absorb other scents as well. They are similar to activated charcoal, which both are odor absorbers. So, placing them inside your house can help deodorize the air and keep your home smelling fresh and clean.

Furthermore, a particular study shows that using activated carbon from coffee grounds residue as an adsorbent could solve air pollution. That only means that even the residue from your coffee still has incredible benefits.

5. Skincare

Skincare is the most popular application of used ground coffee. It’s because they’re the best alternative and useful for scrub, cream, moisturizer, etc. Coffee may also have surprising benefits for your skin if wisely utilized.

A great example is a coarsely ground coffee incorporated into handmade scrubs used as an exfoliating agent to help remove dirt from the skin. Another alternative is a finely ground coffee mixed with regular soap to help soften and remove dead cells from the skin. In the skincare industry, used coffee grounds are mostly mixed with other natural products as moisturizers.

It contains antioxidant properties that help to avoid damaging the skin from excessive sun and pollution. Aside from the antioxidants, there are also other health benefits of the coffee grounds’ caffeine in the skin. Coffee can be a natural ingredient in skincare products, which provide powerful anti-aging benefits.

6. Homemade Candles

While coffee-scented candles always exist in many stores, a homemade coffee candle is another profitable idea that you may try. You can still make a candle with a much nicer scent if you make it at home.

The addicting scent of coffee is known to give an aromatic and variant smell that may help reduce stress. Aside from being an environmentally friendly product, it’s also an easy DIY coffee recipe using natural ingredients. Besides, making a coffee scented candle using upcycled ingredients is fun, cheap, and easy if you do it right.

If you want to try to make some funky candles at home, here is an original coffee candle recipe from Instructables.

7. Cleaning Scrubs

Aside from using those spent coffee grounds as scrubs for skin, you can also use them as a cleaning agent for kitchen utensils. The coarse and even fine texture of ground coffee can help scrape away molds, dirt, etc.

Used ground coffee is ideal for scrubbing. What’s more, they’re great for getting odors out of your pots and pans after cooking. After using them to scrape your utensils clean, the dishes’ strong smell is also removed. 

8. Natural Dye for T-shirt Printing

Ground coffee is known for its concentrated color, making it as a great alternative to traditional dyes. Additionally, you can also turn coffee into ink to use for T-shirt printing or similar work. Most of the time, ground coffee still retains its color concertation even after brewed.

The coffee stain is hard to remove, which means it can be used to permanently color cotton and fabrics. You can utilize spent coffee grounds to create your own inexpensive and all-natural dye. Also, printing graphics on garments and fabrics with used coffee grounds is indeed a great idea in the printing industry.

Aside from being cheap and alternative to ink, recycling them is a new standard of sustainability and printing quality. Besides, some companies that recycle coffee grounds to use as a pigment in printing are now successful nowadays.

9. Foodstuffs

Since coffee grounds are a natural source of antioxidant dietary fiber, they are now considered a food grade ingredient in coffee-based recipes. They can also be a flexible ingredient for cooking and food manufacturing because they are totally safe to digest.

Even though it’s safe to eat because its considered edible, it should still be moderated. With that being said, used ground coffee is best when incorporated into some foods for better consumption. Examples are those coffee-based snacks and other foods that many people enjoy.

Nowadays, they are widely used in bakery products (cakes, cookies, etc.) and other foodstuffs (ice cream, chocolate, etc.).

10. Meat Tenderizer

Coffee and meat are an excellent combination for cooking and outdoor grilling experience. Coffee has a chemical property that pairs well with almost any type of meat.

A finely ground coffee can be used as a rub for BBQ. And since the texture and composition of it act as a spice, ground coffee also works best when paired with other herbs.

Adding coffee grounds to a BBQ rub will enhance the meat’s flavor. In other types of meat, marinating them with your steak will tenderize and accentuate the meat’s taste as well. Combining coffee grounds with vinegar, garlic, and shallots as a marinade will make your meat melt in your mouth for good. That is because ground coffee is considered acidic. That acidity helps tenderize the meat, creating a sweet and savory layer that seals in the meat’s moisture. 

11. Accessories and furniture

Used coffee grounds are not only transformed into creams, scrubs, and functional foods. They are also altered and manufactured to produce furniture & accessories, gifts, souvenirs, lighting, and so on.

As mentioned before, global coffee consumption is steadily increasing. Those leftover coffee grounds end up going to landfill. However, we know that it has an impact on the environment.

With that being said, on the other hand, innovations nowadays are continually evolving. Thanks to those businesses and social enterprises that recycle ground coffee to limit the impact of waste produced on nature. They transform these waste into renewable products to use for other purposes.

Kaffeeform is a German company that recycles coffee grounds into crafted coffee cups. They can create durable, robust, and artful coffee forms from used coffee grounds and renewable raw resources. Julian Lechner, the product designer, began to experiment with coffee grounds. The idea of creating something new and stable out of supposed waste made Kaffeeform an environmentally-friendly company that promotes sustainability and renewable materials.

Wrapping it Up!

Coffee grounds are essential for a great-tasting cup. At the same time, coffee has serious consequences for the planet. When we brew our favorite coffee, we use only a small portion of its potential. So what can we do to encourage coffee drinkers to be more conscious about how their coffee is made and its impact on the environment? 

Coffee grounds are an incredibly beneficial and useful resource. As highlighted above, coffee is a natural source of nutrients, antioxidants, and so on. It’s a best practice to recycle coffee grounds actively. Those mentioned above are not the only things you can do with these coffee waste. I believe you have innovative methods that may also help other individuals and industries be more sustainable.

In the end, instead of treating used coffee grounds as a waste product, reusing them at home might seem like a relatively small step to reduce the adverse environmental effects. You could still make a difference by responsibly and wisely disposing of the natural byproducts of coffee.

Like this Article? You May Want to Read: How to Store Coffee Beans for a Long Time

Credit: Image by Thomas Via flickr