Coffee & Your Garden

As part of our green initiative, we decided to take a look at what we were wasting and if there were greener alternatives that we could find to reduce our waste or recycle it.

Well… after a bit of research, we found that plants (fully grown) love coffee! Whether you mix it in the soil as fertiliser, or mix it in with your compost bin, it’s great for our floral friends.

HatHats has decided to trial putting our spent coffee ground out for the public to take, for free, to use in their gardens and allotments. Look out for the wooden boxes, and bring your own container or buy a biodegradable bag from us to take it home in.

The Sciencey Bit

Like any other waste, when coffee reaches landfill or is incinerated during disposal, it can cause environmental damage through the production of leachate and the release of greenhouse gases. Diverting waste from landfill or incineration can therefore be said to reduce its environmental impact.

Spent coffee grounds can be composted or added directly to the soil of some plants as a fertiliser; any coffee which is collected from our sites to be taken home and used in this way is thus a step towards reducing our environmental impact.

Adding coffee waste directly to the soil is beneficial, as it provides organic material which increases the variation of soil particle size. This improves soil structure, and in turn improves drainage and water retention, making it less susceptible to erosion from surface water runoff. Coffee grounds can be used in addition to standard fertilisers as they are a great source of nitrogen, with a nitrogen to carbon ratio of 20:1, as well as containing phosphorus and potassium which aid plant growth.

Adding coffee waste to compost piles with a combination of green and brown material has been shown to reduce the carbon emissions of the composted waste. The nitrogen in the coffee waste provides bacteria with the energy it needs to break down organic matter. It has also been shown to increase the heat of the compost, speeding up the process, resulting in a higher quality end product. This product can then be used as general garden compost, moving towards a circular waste management system.


Add to your compost to create a healthy mix. The nitrogen in the coffee waste helps to create heat, which is a natural aid for your compost heap! Win win! This is the best way to reuse coffee grounds.


Many gardeners use coffee grounds to scatter around the plants for added organic matter, and to put microorganisms into the soil to attract worms. Used coffee grounds have a little amount of acidity, which means they are a good all-rounder and help with drainage too.

Avoid Seedlings

Coffee grounds are not the friendliest to little seedlings, so only use this around your fully grown plants because they can handle the acidity much better and actually benefit from it.

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