After a neighbor recently hired a plumber to fix a stubborn clog in the kitchen sink, she shared his surprising advice: Never put coffee grounds down the garbage disposal.

This seems like a wise precaution, but that doesn’t mean we have to throw them in the trash. In fact, there are many clever ways to reduce kitchen waste and make our world just a bit healthier.

Surprisingly, coffee has beneficial, all-natural properties that can be used as an alternative to harsh chemically-driven products you may be using now. Let’s look at a few.

Hair Conditioner

Caffeine is a great stimulant that encourages hair roots to grow and improves the condition of your scalp.

After washing your hair, massage  a teaspoon or two of cooled, wet coffee wet grounds into your hair and scalp. Leave on for about five minutes, then rinse thoroughly. The result? Softer, shinier hair at a fraction of the cost of professional hair treatment products. I If the process sounds rather messy, you can use cooled brewed coffee instead of grounds.

Plant Food

Plants thrive when fed with diluted brewed coffee. Simply add four parts water to the volume of coffee, and give your plants a magnesium and potassium boost. Alternatively, you can also mix ground coffee directly in with the plant soil, but do this sparingly and only occasionally.

Marinades and Rubs

Ground coffee makes a great addition to rubs for meats and fish. Adding the rich flavor of coffee complements a wide range of spices. Baking chocolate cupcakes or muffins? Try replacing a little of the milk or water in the recipe with strong ground coffee, to add a delightful edge to chocolate flavors.

Air Freshener

Coffee beans are natural deodorizers. Around your home, they look stylish in pots and vases, and you can even store them discreetly in muslin bags too.

You can also place coffee beans in muslin bags and place in discreet places to remove odors in your car, closets, kitchen, and bathrooms.

Hint: It’s also an environmentally friendly way to make use of the old coffee beans that you’ve replaced with Burwell Beans!

Ice Cubes

Pour leftover cold coffee into ice cube containers and freeze. It’s the perfect way to chill your cold brew quickly, without diluting it with cold water.

Compost

At Burwell Beans, we compost our waste coffee and the chaff left over from the roasting process. The coffee breaks down and provides a real boost to the compost nutrients, and the chaff is reused as bedding and feed for chickens.

By the way, our packaging is fully omnidegradable and can be added directly to your compost bin.

Breath Freshener

It may sound odd, but chewing or sucking on a roasted coffee bean is a natural way to neutralize breath odors.

Insect Repellent

Insects (and even mice) don’t like the smell of coffee, so here’s a natural way to repel household insects. Place small containers of ground coffee around the home will keep your house smelling fresh while keeping those critters at bay!

Outside, keep coffee in containers when enjoying the garden and patio. Mosquitos are repelled by the odor so there’s no need to burn those unpleasant candles!