I love coffee! Let’s just get that out of the way – I love that morning hit and pick me up…and to make things even better my lovely partner bought me an espresso machine for Christmas! Yay! Now I can make an amazing latte, for breakfast! No better way to start the morning. BUT, the environmentalist in me cringes a bit every time I make one. I think of all of those little capsules, not being recycled and ending up straight into the landfills. Not good at all for anyone. But I have figured a few things out, and make my morning habit a little less harmful. First of all, the machine I have is a Nespresso. Amazing coffee and company for a number of reasons. By 2020, Nespresso will sustainably source 100% of its permanent Grand Cru range (the range I use), so you know your coffee is coming from a healthy and well looked after source and work force. It’s important to know that it is sustainably managed right from the beginning. Secondly, Nespresso also recycles their capsules, making them into new capsules again, thereby reducing the impact of continually producing aluminum. You just simply have to drop them off at the closest center. In other words, the company is making steps forward to make a difference for the environment.
However, talking about the company is not the reason for my post. Shocking I know. Rather I want to share how amazing coffee grounds and tea leaves are for your garden and how you can start making small changes at home to help out with your garden. Composting with coffee and tea is a great way to make use of something that would otherwise fill up landfills. Coffee and tea add nitrogen to your compost pile. There are a number of ways you can use it, one by adding to your pile, or it can be added directly to soil as fertilizer for your plants. Coffee grounds add organic material to your soil, which improves drainage, water retention and aeration in the soil, just add it in around your plants. I like to add it to the compost pile as I find it helps to break down the other organic materials and the worms love it! Moist tea leaves added to the compost bin increase the speed with which your pile decomposes as well. Most tea bags are compostable, but 20-30% may be made of polyproplene, which will not decompose. These will feel slippery to the touch and have a heated sealed edge. Still fine to use in the compost bin, just know that you will be pulling out tea bags later on.
So what does this have to do with the espresso capsules. Well it’s actually quite easy to get the grounds out of the capsules and make use of them in your own garden. I maybe spend 10 minutes a week on this and provide my garden and compost heap with the extra boost it needs. Simply cut the top open in a cross with a knife and scrape out the grounds into a bowl or your bin. And then of course store your emptied capsules until you are able to drop them off at a recycling center which accepts them. Easy peesy and you’ll probably feel pretty good about lessening your ecological footprint as well. And obviously espresso capsules are not the only coffee people drink – so any grounds are great to be used in the garden or compost bin. Your plants will love it!
Coffee grounds can also be used for:
- Mulch for plants
- Keep slugs and snails away
- Some say it is a cat repellent (I use lemon balm herb for this planted among the vegetables)
- Worm food for vermicomposting
Just remember that if we all do these little things, it will make a huge difference in the end. So enjoy your morning coffee or tea without the guilt, and keep your garden ticking away happily.