Coffee Grinds On My Lawn
May 17, 2007
I’ve started spreading used coffee grinds on my lawn to help increase the organic matter in the soil.
Starbuck’s has a program called Grounds For Your Garden where they give free used coffee grounds to anyone who asks, to be used as a soil amendment. I decided to trek around to see how well this program worked and how much coffee grounds I could actually get.
I felt kind of weird about going into my favourite coffee shop and asking for their leftovers, however, when I went in to the Starbucks at Metcalfe and Slater the guy didn’t even miss a beat. He emptied out the espresso machines into a bin, pulled out the plastic bag and gave me about 6 lbs. of used coffee grinds. He said the best time to come by is after their morning and afternoon rushes. I’ve been back there a few times and have been “rewarded” with at least 6 lbs. of grounds each time.
I decided to check out other Starbucks shops to see if they give out their grounds. The staff at the Starbucks at the Lord Elgin Hotel gave me a funny look and said they just toss their coffee grinds in with their regular garbage (boo!). The staff at the Starbucks at Pinecrest Chapters told me that they had already given some grounds to a woman earlier in the evening, however, they gave me whatever they had left (yay!). The girl at the Starbucks in the Chapters at Blair and Ogilvie told me they don’t usually give them out and didn’t even have a bag to put them in but they could give it to me in a paper gift bag if I really wanted them (boo!).
So, it seems like not all Starbucks are towing the company line with their environmental initiatives. You’ll just have to check your local Starbucks to see who’s being environmentally friendly and who is not.
On a whim, I went to the Second Cup at Metcalfe and Slater and found out that they are not set up to collect used coffee grounds, however, they’ve had a few people asking for them and they are now considering setting up a system. Who knows, maybe someday even Tim Horton’s will consider this type of program.
Here’s one-day’s haul, about 30 lbs., from three different Starbuck’s locations.
Then I dump them into the bottom worm bin I’m no longer using (Long live the worms!).
Starbucks only gives away their used espresso coffee grinds that they dump out from the espresso machine. Some are broken down and some are still in a “puck” form.
Wear gloves, preferably ones you don’t care about, as spreading these grounds is a very pungent process. I like the smell of coffe, however, spreading this thinly over my lawn makes my hands, shoes and lawn smell like a venti quad ristretto espresso. I spread some last night while the grass was still wet from the rain. I’m still debating if that was the right move or not – if I had spread it when it was dry it would have settled into the thatch layers instead of sticking to the blades of grass. I think I should have waited.
If the coffee grinds are still sticking to the blades of grass, I might go around later tonight and spray it down into the thatch layer. Here you can kind of see it at a distance in the upper right-hand corner: