Sustainable uses for coffee grounds

22nd September 2021 | Eativity editors

We’re a nation of coffee lovers, with the average Aussie drinking 175 cups a year. The good news is we’re also becoming more responsible about how we consume our beloved brew by choosing Fairtrade coffee, reusable coffee cups and reusable coffee trays. But what about all those leftover coffee grounds? With many of us making our coffee at home in lockdown, you’ll be pleased to know that your coffee grounds can be a natural and sustainable alternative to many everyday items. Here, Seven Miles Coffee Roasters has shared seven clever ways that you can get creative and find sustainable uses for coffee grounds.

Seven Miles in the Right Direction
To date, Seven Miles’ sustainable practices have saved more than 300,000kg of carbon emissions.

With 50 years of coffee-making expertise and roasteries in Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra, Seven Miles is working hard to embrace more sustainable practices. In 2019, they launched the Seven Miles in the Right Direction program as part of a broader commitment to sustainability. The program centres on a series of initiatives the business has undertaken with a variety of partners, including recycling company TerraCycle and RecycleMe packaging. To celebrate the two-year anniversary of the program, and in the spirit of sustainability, here are Seven Miles’ favourite sustainable uses for coffee grounds.

Coffee face scrub
Coffee grounds are a natural way to remove dead skin cells and rejuvenate that beautiful face of yours.

1. The coffee scrub

Your humble coffee grounds offer a variety of beauty benefits thanks to their antioxidant properties. One go-to beauty hack for used coffee grounds is a simple yet effective, at-home body scrub. In addition to the coffee grounds, you can pop in a tablespoon of brown sugar and a tablespoon of a natural oil, like a peppermint essential oil. The brown sugar helps the scrub stick together and oils help to moisturise your skin.

Sustainable uses for coffee grounds: make your own soap
You can buy pre-made melt-and-pour soap blocks from online stores like New Directions Australia.

2. Soap star

If you’re feeling particularly crafty at home, used coffee grounds are a perfect edition to a DIY bar of soap. Whether you use the melt-and-pour or cold process soap-making method, coffee gives soap a unique look and a delicious smell. The resulting product makes a good alternative for a body scrub that can be kept in the bathroom.

Sustainable uses for coffee grounds: coffee hair scrub
Unlike some other hair treatments, coffee hair scrub won’t strip natural oils.

3. Always a good hair day

Coffee grounds are great for your skin and can also do wonders for your hair and scalp. The invigorating effects of coffee can be felt when used in your hair care routine. Simply work the grounds into your scalp with your fingertips and rinse with cool water. Some studies suggest that the caffeine in coffee grounds can even stimulate hair growth.

Good Surf Wax Seven Miles Coffee
Good Surf Wax uses Seven Miles’ grounds to make its wax. Apparently, it adds extra grip.

4. Surf’s up

If you’re an avid surfer, you can even make your own surf wax using coffee grounds – all you need is beeswax and coconut oil. As part of its Seven Miles in the Right Direction program, Seven Miles has been working with organic surf wax company Good Surf Wax to do just that. The initiative blends used coffee grounds with petrochemical-free, locally sourced beeswax to create an aromatic surf wax that’s 100 percent natural.

Sustainable uses for coffee grounds: use them on your garden
Spread coffee grounds thinly on the soil, or mix them with manure or compost.

5. Gardening gold

Who would’ve thought that your used coffee grounds would be your best friend in the garden? With composting, coffee grounds are naturally rich in nitrogen, and this provides bacteria in the soil with the energy to turn organic matter into compost. When it comes to using coffee grounds as a fertiliser, this helps add organic material to the soil, improving drainage, water retention and aeration in the soil.

Coffee grounds are a chemical-free way to clean your barbecue grill.
You eat food cooked off that grill, so why use a chemical scrub?

6. Clean and sparkling

With a coarse texture and a divine smell, coffee can work magic when it comes to cleaning. Simply sprinkle grounds on cookware, your barbecue grill or inside your sink and scrub as usual. It’s the ideal eco-friendly substitute for chemical-based cleaning products. While coffee grounds are great for scouring pots and pans, it’s not recommended to use them on delicate crockery or anything with a light-coloured surface that could easily be stained.

Coffee grounds can add a whole new dimension of flavour to your grilled steaks.
Coffee grounds can add a whole new dimension of flavour to your grilled steaks.

7. The perfect barbie accessory

Did you know that coffee contains an enzyme that helps soften meat and enhance its flavour? For your next BBQ, try adding used grounds to a dry-rub recipe. The grounds will form a dark, crispy crust. Or you can rebrew the grounds and use the coffee as a marinade.

To learn more about Seven Miles coffee and Seven Miles in the Right Direction, head to To find out more about Fairtrade coffee, click here.

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