How Coffee Can Inspire You to Compost

May 5th, 2017|Canada, Sustainability, US|

Do you know who loves coffee more than us? Worms. Worms are addicted to coffee, which is why used coffee grounds are a key ingredient in your kitchen compost. If Earth Day has inspired you to start your own kitchen compost, then be sure to stock up on some organic coffee. We’re not just saying that because our coffee is organic, but more so to avoid adding unwanted chemicals to your compost, as one day you may want to use that soil in your home veggie garden.

Jumping on the composting trend can be a bit tricky, but we want to help demystify the process and bring some clarification. It’s a difficult process to get the right mixture of carbon, nitrogen, air circulation and water… but first, coffee!

As part of your morning habit, brew your coffee pod in your Keurig®. Instead of throwing out your used OneCoffee pod, set it aside or in a tabletop green bin. By the end of the week, you should have enough grounds to begin your compost. Depending on how much of a coffee-fanatic you are, you may only need a couple days to grow your pile of grounds. It’s important to include only used coffee grounds in your compost because these will be less acidic.

Here’s how to get started:

1. Find a bin

Choose a cute pot or bin for baking your compost. Any sort of composting bin will do.

2. Nitrogen

Begin gathering your kitchen waste. You need to have a good mixture of carbon, nitrogen and neutrals. Your coffee grounds are a great start to your neutrals pile but you’ll also need to add a number of nitrogen-rich materials too, which make up 1/3 of your waste ingredients. Nitrogen-rich materials like the following work well: green garden waste like weeds, kitchen vegetable scraps or freezer burnt veggies, old spices, used tea bags (made from compostable materials), paper towels, tofu, cooked rice, etc.

Other good neutrals to add are; egg shells, melted ice cream, old cheese (added in small amounts) and spoiled canned goods.

3. Carbon

Next you’ll need to add some carbon ingredients. Don’t worry these are easy to find too; dried leaves, shredded newspaper, cardboard, dryer lint, shredded brown paper grocery bags and egg shells. (check out this link to find more)

Begin by placing your kitchen/yard waste into the composting bin. If you would like to see quicker results, try chopping or shredding the organic materials first.

4. Soil Layer

You’ll need some soil or “freshly completed” compost, to spread over the compost pile. This layer has some microorganisms that will be doing the grunt work of breaking down your materials and helping stop the surface from drying out.

5. Moisture

Keep a close eye on your compost pile’s moisture level. Add dry ingredients like straw or sawdust to soggy materials, or add water to a pile that’s too dry. The compost should be damp to the touch but not wet enough for water to be squeezed out.

6. Bake

Let your pile “bake”, it should be around 90 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, and might take about 4-5 days to reach optimal temperature.

If you want to speed up baking time — use a shovel or a stick and turn your compost once a week.

A good sign that your compost is baking properly is that the soil will begin to settle from its original height.

If you’ve kept up with the weekly turning, your compost pile should be complete in one to two months. Without regular turning, this could take up to 12 months.

7. A cup of joe while you wait.

A good looking compost pile will be dark and crumbly with pieces of organic material and it will have a delicious sweet, earthy smell.

Now your compost is ready to use!

For Keurig owners, the battle between being environmentally-friendly and loving the morning convenience is top of mind. A lot of consumers are looking for better options than the standard plastic K-Cup line especially if you want to use those coffee grounds in your kitchen compost – which you should!

Lucky for people like us, many brands in the industry are working to bring compostable coffee pods to the market. Although these are best composted in commercial facilities (which will reach temperatures much hotter than at home) you can try this for yourself if you’re curious! At OneCoffee we can’t guarantee success with composting our pods in your home-made composter due to the many variables that make compost degrade in a timely manner — so for now, let’s leave it to the experts.