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Can You Put Coffee Grinds in a Compost Pile? Expert Tips

compost pile

Coffee grinds after brewing are often thrown away, tossed into the garbage without a second thought. Unfortunately, millions of people drink coffee daily, so that is a lot of coffee ending up in landfills and trash dumps every day. Luckily, there are a few ways to save your used-up coffee grounds. One of the most popular things to do is to compost them! Composting your coffee is a great way to recycle them and keep them out of the garbage, as well as helping your garden plants and flowers grow. Let’s go over what composting is and why you should start putting your used coffee grounds in your compost pile.

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What is a Compost Pile?

Many times, people who have homesteads, gardens, or farms will talk about composting. But what does that actually mean? Simply put, a compost pile is like a mini landfill for scraps of plant and food waste. Composting is rich in nutrients because of the vegetation waste, attracting worms and other important organisms.

Once a compost pile is ready, it can be recycled into the soul and nourishing it for gardening use. It’s a full cycle of recycling by giving back to the farm and preventing the scraps from being tossed into a garbage dump. Instead of adding to the landfill problems, composting is a completely natural way to recycle and nourish the soil.

close up compost
Image Credit: Pixabay

Can Coffee Grinds Go in a Compost Pile?

Yes, coffee grounds can go into a compost pile. They’re a great addition since they’re plant-based produce. However, there are some stipulations to adding coffee. Although coffee is “brown” in color, it’s actually a green plant source. That means you’ll have to be careful about how much coffee you put into your compost pile.

In the compost world, there are two types of matter: green and brown. Green compost refuse is a great source of nitrogen, whereas brown matter is a source of carbon. It’s crucial to have a fairly equal balance of greens and browns to make sure your compost breaks down correctly, especially if you’re using it for gardening and farming purposes.

hand showing used coffee grounds
Image Credit: Runrun2, Shutterstock

What CAN or CAN’T Go into a Compost Pile?

Composting is a great way to lessen the amount of garbage in your household, even if you don’t have a garden. However, there are some things you can’t compost. Knowing what is safe and not safe will spare you a lot of headaches. Composting isn’t rocket science, but you will have to be aware of what you’re composting.

Safe Compost Items:

  • Coffee grounds
  • Vegetable scraps (peels, skins, rinds, etc.)
  • Cardboard
  • Biodegradable paper
  • Black and white newspaper
  • Grass clippings
  • Herbivorous animal manure (horses, cows, etc.)
  • Pesticide-free, poisonous plant-free yard waste
  • Eggshells (wash thoroughly)
NOT Safe Compost Items:
  • Meat or dairy scraps
  • Omnivorous or Carnivorous Animal Manure (dogs, cats, etc.)
  • Coffee filters (unless made of biodegradable material)
  • Plant matter with diseases (can infect the garden)
  • Butter, oil, or any fats
  • Food wrappers, containers, or any plastics
coffee grounds for compost
Image Credit: Pixabay

How to Add Coffee Grounds to the Compost

Adding coffee to your compost pile is easy to do! Simply scrape off the coffee grounds from the filter- many filters are not compost-friendly. Sprinkle the coffee around the compost evenly and enjoy your coffee. Be aware of how much coffee you’re adding, making sure to add other compost-friendly items for an even mix. Too much coffee can compromise the compost- balance is key.

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More and more people are turning to gardening and farming their food, especially during the past few years. Composting is an important part of growing food and having fertile soil, but some food items should never go in the pile. Luckily, coffee is a green-matter item that is safe to compost. Just make sure you don’t add too much, and your compost pile will be a success.

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay


Jaimie Wisniowski

Jaimie is a freelance writer fueled by coffee, whether it’s hot, iced, or made from a local coffee shop. She enjoys writing all things coffee, especially if it means trying the latest coffee shop trends (hello cold foam!). After spending years writing poems, college essays, and short stories, it only a matter of time to turn writing into a career. Writing about coffee simply combined two of her favorite things! When she’s not drinking coffee by the minute and writing at her laptop, Jaimie spends time hiking, exercising, and living an active life. She also loves to snuggle up with a good book and her dog, Margo. If you catch her without a cup of coffee, she’s probably on her way to the coffee maker now.

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