With growing emphasis on sustainability within the hospitality sector, there’s never been a better time to get more involved in making your hotel that bit ‘greener’ by introducing some new eco- friendly initiatives. While there is often attention surrounding the source of refreshments in hotels and restaurants, the ways in which waste food and drink are used or disposed of is often overlooked. The fact is that even the most seemingly inconsequential food waste can be used for the good of the environment; including used ground coffee grains.
What to do with used coffee grounds
Stop sending your waste coffee to landfill by trying these simple but effective repurposing methods.
1) Improve your gardens
Used, ground coffee has great benefits to soil. Either include it in your compost where it will help other organic matter quickly decompose, or mix it directly into soil when planting. One of the properties of used coffee is nitrogen, making it an effective fertiliser when added to soil. It can also attract earthworms and encourage microorganisms which are beneficial for stimulating plant growth.
When added to soil, used coffee grounds, like egg shells, can aid in the soil’s aeration and drainage. Well draining soil is needed in order for most plants to thrive
2) Odour Eliminator
Another great use for used coffee grounds is as an odour eliminator. They should be completely dried out first – simply spread them out on greaseproof paper to do this – so that there is no unpleasant aroma caused by dampness. The most aesthetically pleasing, and practical way to use ground coffee in this way is to put it in small drawstring, fabric bags – similar to potpourri. These can then be placed or hung all around the premises, especially in areas that might need odour neutralisation – such as in toilets or cloakrooms.
3) Natural Insecticide
The caffeine found in used coffee grounds or beans is a natural bug repellent. In a hotel or restaurant, some coffee grounds should be gathered from coffee machines and saved to use as a repellent in the summer. Known to be particularly effective against ants, used coffee ground can also be used to deter other small garden bugs.
4) Repair Furniture Scratches
One old wives tale states that used coffee grains can be used to repair wooden furniture that is damaged or scratched. Simply mix the grounds with olive oil and use a cotton bud to dab the solution on the affected area. Leave it for at least ten minutes so that the wood can soak up the mix before wiping it away. Depending on the tone of the wood, a few applications might be required in order to achieve the right stain colour. This same method could also work to mend scratches on laminate flooring.
5) Natural cleaner
Avoid harsh chemicals and advocate eco-friendly, natural cleaning by using waste coffee grounds as an ingredient in easy-to-make cleaner. When combined with baking soda, coffee grounds can help to create an abrasive solution which is ideal for cleaning heavily soiled pot and pans. Be aware that it is likely to stain if applied to light colours though.
As environmental concerns gain increasing prominence in the news and on social media, all stakeholders in the hospitality sector are likely to ask more and more questions. From governing standards and award bodies to staff and customers, concern over how proactive hoteliers are being in respect of eco-friendliness is more and more apparent. Along with many other steps towards minimising a hotel’s carbon footprint, instead of simply disposing of waste coffee, try using these various methods to repurpose it.
Produced by Jane Freeman, Resourcing Partner at Selecta, the leading European vending machines supplier and specialist coffee services provider.