What Does Starbucks Do With Used Coffee Grounds?

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Starbucks not only serves great coffee to coffee lovers every day. The coffee house chain is committed to positively impacting communities and the environment.

As you might expect, Starbucks brews millions of coffees daily and produces tonnes of used coffee grounds in the process. But do you know what Starbucks does with used coffee grounds? Read on to find out!

What Does Starbucks Do With Used Coffee Grounds?

The Starbucks “Grounds for Your Garden” program was launched in the 1990s. Gardeners can use Starbucks coffee grounds to improve their compost and soil quality. Used coffee grounds are great fertilizers that contain many nutrients which might be beneficial for plant growth.

It helps to prevent the waste of used coffee grounds from Starbucks stores. Where local laws allow, Starbucks stores donate used coffee grounds to local gardeners.

Given the popularity of Starbucks cafes, you can imagine the quantity of coffee consumed daily. Like many people, you may wonder what does Starbucks with its used grounds.

What is Starbucks Grounds for Your Garden Program?

Freshly ground coffee

Image Credit: Maksim Goncharenok, Pexels

The company started the Starbucks’ Grounds for Your Garden program in 1995 to help reduce waste and provide free coffee grounds to gardeners.

This green initiative is only available at select locations. So talk to a Starbucks employee or check online to learn more about what’s available in your local area.

The process is relatively straightforward. Starbucks baristas use the coffee grounds they need for their orders. Once the grounds need to be replaced, the original container is reused, and the used grounds are bagged up to offer to gardeners for free.

With paper cups and excessive packaging, Starbucks still leaves a noticeable environmental footprint. Fortunately, this program can reduce the company’s environmental impact and help gardeners across the country.

Benefits of the Starbucks Grounds for Your Garden Program

The Grounds for Your Garden program has a number of benefits for Starbucks. It is also advantageous for the environment and helps gardeners and plants that grow in the enriched soil.

By offering its used coffee grounds to customers, Starbucks can reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills. This is one of the many initiatives that underline Starbucks’ commitment to local communities and sustainability.

Customers might use the coffee grounds for free to fertilize their gardens.
For a number of plants, coffee grounds can be beneficial for plant growth because of the presence of several nutrients in used coffee grounds.

How Do I Get Used Coffee Grounds From Starbucks?

If local regulations allow, your Starbucks might have bags of used coffee grounds ready for collection. You should try to find out in advance if the local store participates in this program.

The used coffee grounds are packaged in reused two-kilogram bags, once used for fresh coffee beans. Customers can collect a single bag at a time, first come, first served. Just ask the barista to bring you one if you don’t see a bag near the checkout.

Tips to Use Coffee Grounds in Your Garden

Here are our tips and recommendations for adding used coffee grounds to your garden soil or compost:

  • Add used coffee grounds to your compost.
  • Use coffee grounds as a fertilizer in the soil to add nitrogen and other nutrients.
  • Use for plants that like acidic soils or to improve soils that are too alkaline.
  • Be careful in using coffee grounds around young children and pets.
  • There are numerous types of flowers, fruits, and vegetables that can benefit greatly when coffee grounds are added to the soil.
  • Plants like tomatoes do not need acidic soil, so don’t use coffee grounds for tomatoes and such plants.
  • Use used coffee grounds as a mulch to control weeds.
  • There are good worms that you want to have in your garden and used coffee grounds can be one way to attract them.
  • Coffee grounds can act as a pesticide, preventing snails from damaging or eating certain plants.

Are Coffee Grounds Good For Plants?

Coffee grounds can improve the quality of your garden soil, will add key nutrients and nitrogen, might decrease the heavy metal concentrations in the soil, and can help attract worms according to Healthline.

Gardeners who have tried Starbucks coffee grounds in their gardens have reported excellent results. Coffee grounds can improve garden soil and using coffee grounds to enrich local gardens is a green way to reduce waste.

Bottom Line

So what does Starbucks do with used coffee grounds? Starbucks wants to reduce the amount that goes to waste, so customers can pick up a free bag of used coffee grounds. This is a great initiative that can really help in reducing the environmental footprint of Starbucks.

You might want to try out the Starbucks Grounds for Your Garden program if you would like to enrich your local gardens with multiple nutrients at no cost to you. Keep in mind that this program is only available in eligible stores and locations so it’s best to check in advance!


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