Starbucks Coffee developed “Grounds for Your Garden,” an initiative to reuse coffee grounds, the largest portion of its waste. It’s a year-round program that offers complimentary bags of spent coffee grounds to customers, parks, schools and nurseries for composting. The waste reduction has become a popular way for North American gardeners to enrich their soil. Coffee grounds act as a green material with a carbon-nitrogen (C-N) ratio of 20-1. The grounds are packaged in recycled bags and made available on a first-come, first-served basis to customers.
The program was started nine years ago by a team of store employees who were inspired by the numerous requests for the store’s organic waste. Coffee grounds make up the heaviest portion of the waste in Starbucks stores making the “Grounds for Your Garden” program a significant waste-reduction effort.
Using coffee grounds in the garden is a great way to add organic matter to your soil. Coffee grounds are also a good source of nitrogen for your garden soil. Being naturally acidic in nature, used coffee grounds are wonderful for acid loving plants such as roses, blueberries, camellias, azaleas, rhododendrons and even viburnum. Should you want to use coffee grounds in the garden on plants that do not appreciate the acidity, you may need to add a limestone supplement. If you don’t drink coffee very often and there is no Starbucks in your are, you may find coffee grounds at your local coffee shop. Most are more than willing to give you all the coffee grounds your garden can handle.
Don’t add too thick of a pile of coffee grounds or mold may develop. A nice thin layer of coffee grounds around the trunk of the plant is all that is needed. One more added benefit of using coffee grounds in the garden is that earthworms love the used coffee grounds. They will feed on the coffee grounds and in turn aerate and fertilize the soil around your plants. You’ll always enjoy the rewards of using coffee grounds in the garden.