At-home Toolkit

Welcome to Grounds for Recycling’s ultimate guide to reusing your used coffee grounds at-home!

If you love coffee as much as we do, we’re willing to bet you generate a mountain of used coffee grounds at home. Whether by espresso maker, cafetiere, or in a good old fashioned filter paper, we know it’s easier to simply throw your grounds away and forget about them.

But what if we told you just how amazing used coffee grounds can be? Inside this toolkit, you’ll find a treasure trove of guides, tips, tricks and handy hacks for repurposing your used coffee grounds at home. From beauty products to arts and crafts – and even mushroom growing! Not only will these help you reduce your food waste, it will save you money too!

So, join the circular revolution, get creative, and try your hand at giving your used coffee grounds a new life using your very own toolkit today.

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But wait... why do we care so much about coffee and food waste anyway?

Food waste, of which used coffee is a significant contributor, is a major global social, environmental, and economic problem. However, it’s often overlooked – and literally cast into our food bins. Grounds for Recycling’s aim is to bring the issue of food waste back into focus.

We’re encouraging everyone to make small changes at home to help reduce how much food is thrown away. Here’s why:

33% of food is wasted before it even reaches our plates.

This can happen during harvesting, processing, transportation, storage and retail.

Food waste is a bigger cause of climate change than plastics.

Methane, released into the atmosphere from food decomposing in landfill, has over 21 times more warming power than CO2.

Almost two-thirds of Scottish food waste comes from households.

Scottish households throw away 630,000 tonnes of food waste every year.

Food waste costs Scotland over £1 billion a year…

…that’s roughly £470 per household! What would you do with that?

Sources: Scale of Scotland’s food waste challenge, Zero Waste Scotland report. Wrap: The Food we waste in Scotland.

Grounds for Recycling’s Circular Guides

Ground up lake pigment

A Guide to Making Art with Used Coffee Grounds

Ever made an old antique treasure map as a kid using an old tea bag? Well, you’ll be amazed at what crafty things you can do with used coffee too! Brittonie Fletcher is a Scottish based artist who specialises in natural art processes. She’s put together a jam packed guide for you to  scroll through and get inspired.

Mushrooms and coffee grounds!

A Guide to Growing Mushrooms in Used Coffee Grounds

Love mushrooms? Hate the plastic packaging they come in? What would you say if we said you could easily grow them at home with the help of some used coffee grounds? What are you waiting for? Lasse Melgaard of Two Racoons has put together this guide to teach you all about growing delicious oyster mushrooms out of used coffee grounds.

Glasgow Botanic Gardens and the famous Kibble Palace

The Glasgow Botanic Gardens Official Coffee Composting Recipe

Pretty much all Weegies have been to Glasgow’s beautiful Botanic Gardens. But how many have seen what goes on behind the scenes to make all those plants and flowers flourish? Designed with larger-scale community gardens in mind, this Official Coffee Composting Recipe has all you need to know about skilfully incorporating used coffee grounds into your compost mixture.

Other hacks for getting creative
around the home

Hungry – or thirsty! - for more coffee-flavoured tips and tricks? Used coffee grounds can also be used in many beauty and cleaning products. So why not try one of these recipes or get crafty with the kids on a rainy day (because let’s face it, in Scotland we have plenty of them)!

Beauty Hacks


Homemade face and body scrub

Are you spending a small fortune on beauty products when there’s a cost effective – and waste saving – way to make your own? Using leftover coffee grounds from your morning brew is a great way to divert food waste from landfill whilst also creating your own bespoke beauty products. Full of health properties such as antioxidants, used coffee grounds are cheap, great for your skin, and perfect for using in numerous at home concoctions. Why not try this simple recipe, or get creative with your own body scrub flavour combinations?


Homemade coffee hair masks

In need of a bit of a pampering or looking for a fun new natural beauty hack to try out with friends? Why not try creating your own waste coffee hair mask? Coffee hair masks are great for boosting circulation in the scalp and adding a glossy sheen to your locks. With seven different recipes, each with their own hair benefits, there’s plenty of ways this leftover product can be transformed into a bathroom cupboard must-have.

Household hacks


Deodorising unwanted smells in fridges, microwaves, and shoes!

Let’s face it, sometimes things get smelly. Be it leftovers that have been forgotten about in the back of the fridge, or a shoe rack that’s seen its fair share of sweaty footwear - from time to time we could all do with a natural solution to getting rid of bad smells. Enter used coffee grounds! Yes, really. This household waste product is an effective neutraliser of bad odours at no extra cost and no nasty chemicals to the environment. As an added bonus, this website also has a whole host of other ideas for your used coffee too.


Gardening hacks

Whether you’re a newly converted green-fingers, or have been tending to your flower or vegetable patch for some time, did you know that you can use your leftover coffee grounds as a natural fertiliser, mulch and a natural pesticide?

* It’s important to note that coffee grounds aren’t always suitable in every gardening situation. Find out more about when not to use your grounds in the garden to keep you right.



Used coffee grounds are naturally abrasive material and can be useful for getting rid of stubborn stains.

Interested in reducing more food waste than just coffee grounds?

Great! We were hoping you’d say that. That’s why we’ve gathered some of our favourite resources for supporting you on the rest of your food waste journey. Have fun exploring – and don’t forget to let us know what you’ve tried at #GroundsForRecycling.

Love Food Hate Waste

A true one-stop shop for all you need to know about food waste in Scotland and how to minimise your impact. It covers everything from money saving tips to making the most of ingredients. We especially love the food waste recipe generator.

Buzzfeed: 24 foods you’re throwing away but shouldn’t be

We’ve all got our routines, and in the kitchen that often involves throwing out food we just don’t know what to do with. Here Buzzfeed highlights some common foods that end up in the bin instead of on the plate – why not see if any of your favourites are on the list.

Parts of 10 food items you might not know are actually edible

Have you been throwing out bits of food without knowing that it’s actually perfectly good to eat? If so, you’re not alone! Here are a few foods you could be eating more of.

The Scraps Book, IKEA

IKEA’s Scraps Book is an absolute treasure trove of low waste cookery ideas. This beautiful cookbook is full of international, innovative and inspiring recipes aimed at using up food scraps and leftovers. Perfect for dipping in and out of, or devouring from cover to cover.

Low waste kitchen techniques

For centuries civilisations have used creative ways of preserving food to make it last as long as possible. Preserving, pickling and drying are all techniques used by some of the top chefs – but you don’t need to be a pro in the kitchen to give it a go.    

We’ve sourced some short videos on pickling, preserving and drying to get you started, along with some simple recipes to try out.    

Before you know it, you‘ll be adding another dimension to your home cooking, impressing your dinner guests, and most importantly, saving food from being wasted. 


2-3 minute video on pickling to get you started.


Pink pickled onions

These pink pickled onions are an instant way to add a splash of colour to salads, sandwiches, tacos, and anything else you might fancy. The recipe couldn’t be more straight forward… but you don’t need to tell your dinner guests that!

Pickled ginger slices and wooden chopsticks. Ingredient for sushi. Healthy food. Traditional Japanese condiment.

Pickled ginger

How often do we buy a bulb of fresh ginger for a recipe, and the rest of it ends up dried and shrivelled at the bottom on the veg drawer? Why not try turning your leftover ginger into this classic Japanese accompaniment. Of course, it doesn’t just have to be eaten with sushi – pickled ginger is a great addition to any dish that needs a touch of freshness and oomph.   


Pickled watermelon rind

Probably the most waste saving example of the three, this recipe helps you turn watermelon rind that would usually go straight into the bin, into a juicy, crunchy snack or side dish. What’s stopping you from giving it a go!? 


2-3 minute video on preserving to get you started.

Preserved lemons with sea salt and spices. Moroccan cuisine. Vintage style.

Preserved lemons

Citrus fruits such as lemons are a commonly wasted household food item, as rinds are usually thrown out after juicing. But did you know preserved lemons are a delicious and simple way to make use of the whole fruit? The hardest thing about this straightforward recipe for leftover lemons is having the patience to leave them alone for a few weeks!

Glass jars with different kinds of jam and berries on wooden table

Jam and curd

Homemade jams and curds are a great way to use up any fruit that’s seen better days. This ‘flexible’ jam recipe gives you creative freedom with the fruits you choose to use up and is a great staple recipe for you to modify as you get more confident and bold with flavour combinations. It’s also guaranteed to make your kitchen smell delicious.


Fruit peel vinegar

For the more curious in the kitchen, why not give making your own flavoured vinegar a go? This is an ideal way to use up any fruit scraps such as strawberry tops, apple cores and pear ends, while creating a great tasting condiment that can be used to flavour salad dressings and sauces.


2-3 minute video on preserving to get you started.

Organic Healthy Assorted Dried Fruit on a Plate

Homemade dried fruit

Ever spent a small fortune on dried fruit in health food shops and supermarkets? Not anymore! Home drying and dehydrating fruits that need used up is a great way to extend its lifespan. Doing so creates a whole other type of snack altogether, or sweet addition to anything from granola to stews.

Candied oranges (succade) macro

Candied citrus peel

Candying your citrus peel in the oven is a simple way to reduce your fruit waste. These sweet treats are perfect for adding to baking, a decorative showstopper on desserts, or just as a moreish snack to have in the sweet cupboard.

drying fresh herbs and greenery for spice food on white wooden kitchen desk background top view pattern

Dried herbs

With a fairly short lifespan, fresh herbs are a common food item that ends up in the bin. Instead of letting your coriander turn to mush and your mint going mouldy, why not try rescuing the herbs you know you’re just not going to get round to eating? This website gives you the lowdown on four techniques for drying herbs at home.