Every single day, all over the world, people are making coffee. Coffee is, without a doubt, the most popular drink on the planet. In fact, the International Coffee Organization estimates that over 400 billion cups of coffee are consumed across the globe each year.
When It comes to brewing coffee, there’s really only three ingredients. That’s water, coffee grounds, and heat. Coffee is actually a flowering plant, and the seeds of its berries get dried and roasted to form what the world knows as coffee beans. Coffee beans get ground up and mixed with near-boiling water to form everyone’s favorite morning beverage.
On average, it takes one ounce of ground coffee to make sixteen ounces of coffee. The most common coffee brewing method in the world today is the electric drip brewer, which often makes twelve cups of coffee at a time. That means six ounces of coffee grounds end up in a soaking wet mess inside a coffee filter every single morning.
Anyone who’s been a regular coffee drink knows that coffee grounds pile up quickly. There’s no way around it, making lots of coffee takes lots of coffee grounds. So coffee fanatics quickly need to find a good way to dispose of their used coffee grounds. But is it as easy as getting rid of leftover coffee?
In a word, no. You can’t, or at least you shouldn’t, put coffee grounds down the sink. Coffee grounds aren’t like small bits of food, chunks of sauce, or leftover coffee in any way. Most things that are edible get worn down by water. Water is known as a universal solvent, and anything exposed to it for a long period of time tends to break down.
That’s not the case with coffee, which is a good thing. If coffee grounds broke down the way other foods do, we wouldn’t be able to make coffee with them. When exposed to water, coffee grounds will clump together. So even if your sink doesn’t clog after the first dump, after a few rounds of coffee grounds you’ll find your sink backing up. So it is not okay to put coffee grounds down the sink.
Savvy readers might be wondering if a garbage disposal would solve this problem for them. Can you put coffee grounds down the sink with a garbage disposal? Well, also no. Garbage disposals are meant to chop up bits of food that are too large to fit down the sink. The garbage disposal shrinks the bits, and the water takes care of the rest. Even if your coffee grounds are so coarse the garbage disposal breaks them up further (and that means you aren’t brewing your coffee properly), the tiny bits of coffee grounds will continue to clump together, eventually clogging up your drain.
There are really just two reliable means for disposing of coffee grounds. Think of other things that you shouldn’t poor down the drain, like bacon grease and cooking oil. Those go straight into the trash, and if you want, you can treat your coffee grounds the same way. Putting coffee grounds in the trash is a safe, easy, and reliable method for disposing of your daily batch of coffee grounds.
The second method for disposing of coffee grounds actually isn’t disposing of them at all. If you’re someone who’s concerned about the environment, likes to find ways to reuse things, or enjoys gardening, this will be the path for you. Coffee grounds actually make excellent fertilizer when they’re mixed in with your garden’s dirt or your compost pile. In fact, coffee grounds make such excellent compost material that many coffee shops donate their grounds to local growers and environmental activists.
If you want to reuse your old coffee grounds, all you need to do it toss them, minus the filter, into your garden dirt. If you have a proper compost pile, you can even leave the filter in the mix. There’s no reason not to get as much use out of your coffee grounds as possible.
So there you have it. Can you put coffee grounds down the sink? No, but you can dispose of them very easily