What Does Starbucks Do With Used Coffee Grounds? (Your Full Guide)

If you’re been hearing about Starbucks’ reputation as a sustainable company, you may be curious about how they dispose of all the waste produced in their stores.

Among other things, you may be wondering what Starbucks does with all the coffee grounds they use every day. The answer may surprise you.

What Does Starbucks Do With Used Coffee Grounds?

Used coffee grounds from Starbucks are used by gardeners to enrich their compost and soil for healthier plants. The Starbucks Grounds for Your Garden Program was started in 1995 to avoid wasting used coffee grounds from their stores. In locations where this is allowed by local laws, Starbucks stores give away used coffee grounds for free to local gardeners. 

If you have more questions about how you can get used coffee grounds from Starbucks, how to use them in your garden, and more, read on.

What Does Starbucks Do With Spent Coffee Grounds?

Given the popularity of Starbucks coffee, you can imagine that they get through a lot of coffee every day. Like many other people, you may also be wondering what they do with the used coffee grounds.

The answer may surprise you. Instead of throwing away the used coffee grounds, Starbucks gives them away for free to local gardeners to add to their compost or garden soil.

The Grounds for Your Garden Program started in 1995 and is still very popular with customers. If your garden could use some more nutrients, you may be able to get used coffee grounds at your local Starbucks store.

How Can You Get Used Coffee Grounds From Starbucks?

If local regulations and zoning laws allow it, your local Starbucks store will have bags of used coffee grounds by the checkout. You should call ahead to check if your store participates in the program.

The used coffee grounds are packed in repurposed five-pound bags, which were used to hold fresh coffee beans. Customers can pick up one bag each on a first-come-first-served basis.

If you don’t see the bags of used coffee grounds at the checkout, you can ask the barista to get one for you.

The Grounds for Your Garden Program is a neat illustration of Starbucks’ commitment to the environment as well as to the local community.

What Are the Advantages Of the Grounds For Your Garden Program?

What Are The Advantages Of The Grounds For Your Garden Program?

There are a number of benefits of the Grounds for Your Garden Program, for Starbucks, for the environment, for gardeners, and of course, for the plants that are raised on the enriched soils.

By giving away their used coffee grounds to customers, Starbucks is able to reduce the amount of trash they send to landfills. It’s one of the many ways in which Starbucks lives up to its commitment to sustainability.

For customers, the used coffee grounds are a no-cost way to improve the quality of their compost and the soil in their gardens.

For the plants, the coffee grounds enrich their soil with nitrogen as well as necessary nutrients and minerals like potassium, phosphorus, calcium, copper, and magnesium.

Are Coffee Grounds Really Good For the Plants?

Coffee grounds can improve the mineral content of your garden’s soil by as much as 30%. This may be the only fertilizer you need to add to your soil to produce healthy plants, fruits, and vegetables.

Gardeners who have tried using coffee grounds from Starbucks in their gardens claim to see amazing results.

Even lab studies have shown that Starbucks coffee grounds will improve garden soil in the short term as well as the long term.

Using coffee grounds from Starbucks stores to enrich local gardens is a neat, environmentally friendly way of reducing waste and closing the loop of consumption.

How To Use Coffee Grounds in Your Garden

You can add coffee grounds to your compost heap or use them to brew a compost tea. You can also apply them directly to the soil as a fertilizer to add nitrogen and other nutrients and minerals.

Coffee grounds can also be used for plants that love acidic soil or to amend soils that are too alkaline, as in the western US. Hydrangeas, blueberries, carrots, and Lily of the Valley will all thrive if you add some coffee grounds to the soil.

Other plants like tomatoes don’t need acidic soil, so make sure you use your coffee grounds for the right plants.

Used coffee grounds can also be used as mulch to control weeds. Adding used coffee grounds to the soil may also help to attract beneficial earthworms to your garden.

Some gardeners even feel that coffee grounds work as pest control and prevent ants and slugs from damaging your plants. If you’d like to test that, you can make a barrier of coffee grounds to protect your plants from slugs.

To learn more about Starbucks, you can also read our posts on how hot is Starbucks coffee, why Starbucks coffee tastes burnt, and what Starbucks drink has the most caffeine.

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of QuerySprout.com.

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