From Cup to Compost: Giving Your Spent Coffee a New Lease of Life

From Cup to Compost: Giving Your Spent Coffee a New Lease of Life

Spring has FINALLY sprung, and for many coffee lovers this means longer days brewing their favourite coffee at home. But what do you do with all those spent coffee grounds? As it turns out, there are plenty of ways to reuse them and give them a new life. In this blog post, we'll explore how spent coffee grounds can be used for composting and how they can be beneficial for fertilising your houseplants.
The Journey of BEAR So Far Reading From Cup to Compost: Giving Your Spent Coffee a New Lease of Life 5 minutes Next Coffee Conversations: Mental Health Awareness Week 2023

To help us out, we've enlisted the help of Hattie, BEAR's Marketing Manager and resident green-fingered expert. When she’s not busy geeking out over branding strategies or sipping craft beers on a weekend, she can be found tending to her massive collection of houseplants and telling us off for not watering our office plants. Needless to say, she knows her stuff when it comes to plant care. Let’s dig right in!

Hey Hattie! So, what actually is 'composting'?

'Composting' is a natural process that basically involves breaking down organic materials such as food scraps, leaves and grass clippings into a nutrient-rich fertiliser to enrich soil and plants. This ultimately results in improving soil structure and will provide some much needed nutrients to your plants! It's a really fab way to help reduce waste all while helping to give your garden and houseplants an extra bit of TLC!

Sounds great! But is it easy to start composting at home?

Absolutely! Getting started composting at home can be very easy! You just need a compost bin, some organic waste, and a little bit of patience. There are loads of different options for compost bins, including ones that you can purchase or make yourself. With a lil' bit of time and care, you can turn your kitchen scraps into nutrient-rich compost.

How safe is it to use coffee grounds when creating a compost?

Very - coffee grounds are an excellent addition to your compost pile as they are a rich source of nitrogen, which is essential for plant growth. Plus, they are an eco-friendly way to repurpose waste that would otherwise end up in landfills. Just be sure to balance the coffee grounds with other compostable materials like leaves, vegetable scraps, and shredded paper to maintain the right carbon to nitrogen ratio.

You mentioned paper - does that mean you can use spent coffee filter papers too?

Yeah you can definitely compost filter papers along with your coffee grounds! I'd try to avoid using bleached filter papers in general though as they can contain harmful chemicals that may impact your compost. Unbleached filter papers are made of biodegradable material and will break down in compost just like ay other paper product. Just make sure to tear them up into smaller pieces to help them break down faster!

Are there any particular benefits of adding coffee grounds to your compost?

LOADS! Firstly, and really importantly, it helps reduce waste and gives your coffee grounds a new lease of life. Coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen, which is a vital nutrient for plant growth. In fact, they tend to have about 2% nitrogen by volume, making them a super potent source of this nutrient! Coffee grounds are also slightly acidic by nature, which can be really beneficial for plants that prefer acidic soil, such as blueberries, roses and tomatoes. Finally, coffee grounds also help improve soil structure and water retention - making it easier for plants to grow lovely, healthy roots!

Does that mean you can just chuck spent coffee straight on to your plants at home then?

I wouldn't recommend chucking your grounds onto your plants straight out of your portafilter basket! As coffee grounds can be quite acidic, this can harm some of your more delicate plants. Composting helps to break down the grounds and create a balanced and nutrient-rich fertiliser. It may take a bit longer but it's totally worth the wait and your plants will LOVE you for it!

Gotcha. So are there any particular steps you should take when composting coffee grounds then?

Yeah, there's some lil' steps you can take when adding to your compost. It's important to mix the grounds with other organic matter, like leaves and glass clippings. This will help to create a balance between the carbon to nitrogen ratio and provide the all-important microorganisms in the compost with the nutrients they need to break everything down. You should also make sure to turn your compost pile regularly to aerate it.

How about collecting grounds from my local coffee shop? 

It's definitely possible to collect coffee grounds from local shops for your compost! Pop in and check with the staff to see if they are okay with you taking the grounds, as some shops may have specific policies or procedures for disposing of them. We actively encourage it at any of BEAR's stores and our lovely baristas will be more than happy to help! 


So, next time you brew your favourite brew at home, don't throw away those spent coffee grounds. Instead, give them a new life by composting them or using them to fertilise your houseplants. It's a sustainable and easy way to care for your plants and reduce waste. Happy Spring!