The key to being zero waste is finding all the little ways to avoid throwing things out. And sometimes that means taking things in too. Which is exactly what I do with coffee grinds. The little bit I create at home gets added to the garden, but it’s never enough. Every month I make a run to Starbucks for a commercial-size bag of coffee grinds. And that allows me to skip buying fertilizer at the store.
The science behind coffee grinds in the garden is pretty simple. It’s a rich source of nitrogen and minor amounts of other soil nutrients – phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and copper. The same items you will find in a bag of fertilizer at the store. But do be careful when adding coffee grinds to plants, as it might interfere with growth. It is best to place in the soil – tilling 6-8 inches deep – before or after planting.
And that’s perfect for me. I can avoid throwing away coffee grinds, avoid buying fertilizer at the store, and take in trash from other places. The local coffee shops throw away their grinds unless someone asks for them. And the baristas love handing them over because it means they don’t have to take out the trash.
It’s just one part of zero waste but it shows how easy it can be. Not to mention money saving – no more fertilizer – and helpful for the community. Can you believe I’m reducing the trash that Starbucks creates?
Continue reading Zero Waste: coffee grinds for your garden
Hauling trash-bags full of coffee grounds and kitchen scraps, two three-wheeled rickshaw bicycles raced past campus foot traffic.
The fleet had just finished their first compost pickup.
The owner of the cafe, Devon Jackson-Kali, met the students near the cafe to give them leftover coffee grounds…he also gave them pounds of cabbage heads, carrot peelings, celery and other scraps leftover from his kitchen operations.
Leaders of an undergraduate environmental research team known as Waste Watchers drove the custom-built, electric and pedal-operated bikes – or rickshaws – on an extended campus route for the first time. Using the rickshaws for transport, the team collects and recycles leftover scraps at their own compost site located in Sunset Canyon Recreation Center.
Chloe Green, the Weyburn project coordinator and a graduate student in urban planning, excitedly greeted the team on the street outside her apartment Wednesday.
Green said it felt “unnatural” not to compost at her Weyburn apartment. She grew up composting and said she has since learned the technique through trial and error.
More on this – Daily Bruin: Compost crew: Waste Watchers turn trash into fertilizer by properly disposing organic waste
Continue reading Students create their own composting program in the dorms
Why rain barrels?
Placed under a down spout, rain barrels conveniently collect rainwater that can be used to water gardens and lawns, wash cars or even fill birdbaths and ponds. A 1000 square foot roof yields about 600 gallons per inch of rainfall – that’s a lot of water (and money) to be saved. Rain barrels can also be hooked up to a soaker hose for easy and free garden watering.
In coastal areas, additional benefits include diverting of water from municipal storm drain systems and protecting the ocean from storm runoff pollution.
Installation can be very easy, placing the barrel under your gutter’s down spout. Conversion kits also offer a diverter system which eliminates the need for cutting off gutter downspouts or installing over-flow valves, and eliminates potential for mosquito breeding.
Most cities offer rain barrels for sale at a discount. Check out your local city website to see if they offer a similar program.
Continue reading Rain barrels conserve water, protect the environment, and keep our oceans/rivers clean