How to Get Starbucks Grounds for Your Garden (Used Coffee Grounds)

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Looking for free used coffee grounds for your plants? Starbucks offers bags of used grounds for your garden. Here's how the program works.
Bag of Starbucks used Coffee grounds for your garden.

Starbucks serves up millions of cups of coffee across the world every day. But have you ever wondered what happens to all those used coffee grounds?

While the bulk of the grounds end up in the dumpster, the Starbucks “Grounds for your Garden” program aims to lessen the amount of grounds in the landfill while helping anyone with a garden.

If you’ve got a green thumb and want to fertilize your garden or enrich your compost, here’s how to get free coffee grounds from Starbucks.

How to Get Free Used Coffee Grounds from Starbucks

Starbucks gives away five pound bags of used coffee grounds to anyone that wants to add grounds to their garden or plants.

Baristas package the used grounds inside the same foil packaging that the espresso beans originally came in and place a “Grounds for your Garden” label on top.

The bags of spent grounds are placed in a barrel or basket for customers to take for free.

Free bags of Starbucks used coffee grounds with labels that say, grounds for your garden.
Starbucks offers gardeners used coffee grounds for free in 5-pound bags.

Grounds for your Garden Locations

According to Starbucks, bags of used grounds are “offered on a first-come, first-served basis in participating stores where local codes permit.”

If you don’t see any bags, ask the barista if their store participates in the program.

I recently checked my go-to Starbucks and the barista told me that they can make them but they just need a container to put them in out front.

If your store participates, in my experience, it’s best to try and snag a bag in the morning.

Packaging moist grounds is a messy process, and my guess is baristas prepare the bags of used grounds later in the day for availability the next morning.

Three 5-pound bags of used coffee grounds at Starbucks.
Bags of used grounds for your garden are available at participating Starbucks locations.

Ways to Use Starbucks Coffee Grounds for Plants

Now that you know you can get a bag of used coffee grounds from Starbucks, here’s how to use them.

For the Garden

The Starbucks label on each bag of used grounds explains how most of the coffee’s acidity is removed during the brewing process.

What remains is a green material with a pH of 6.9 and a carbon nitrogen ration of 20:1.

The listed benefits of adding used coffee grounds to a garden include:

  • promoting plant growth
  • repelling ants and slugs
  • enticing earthworms

For the Compost Pile

Here’s what the Grounds for your Garden sticker says about adding coffee grounds to your compost:

“Combine with ‘brown’ materials for enriched compost. Experts recommend up to 20% coffee grounds in a compost pile.”

Environmental Impact

Label on a Starbucks grounds for your garden bag of used coffee grounds.
Starbucks used coffee grounds for your garden are packaged in reused espresso bean bags.

Starbucks is always looking for ways to reduce its environmental impact, be it lids that don’t need straws or encouraging customers to bring their own reusable Starbucks cup.

What I love about the free bags of Grounds for your Garden is that it’s like hitting a trifecta when it comes to environmental responsibility.

First, gardeners can enjoy all the benefits that coffee grounds provide.

In a sense, the coffee beans are going full circle back into the earth.

Secondly, less spent coffee grounds are disposed into landfills.

And finally, Starbucks cleverly reuses empty coffee bean bags as opposed to new packaging.