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Friday, September 29, 2023

As approaching finals fuel coffee sales, enthusiasts and entrepreneurs of the beverage are finding inventive ways to utilize used coffee grounds.

A popular use of the spent beans has been to take advantage of their environmental benefits, said Karla Calle, an assistant manager at the store Coffee Culture.

Calle said she has noticed several people showing interest in the grounds.

"We have employees that like to use it for fertilizers," Calle said. "Customers also come in and ask for used coffee grounds for their gardens."

Coffee Culture, 2020 NW 13th St., is not the only coffee shop giving away used coffee grounds.

Starbucks is also encouraging the reuse of coffee grounds by giving them to customers and parks through its Grounds for Your Garden program, the company's Web site stated.

Mariana Riehm, a UF anthropology junior, said she likes that coffee shops are willing to give away grounds.

Riehm has been sprinkling used coffee grounds in her gardens since childhood.

"My parents were in the nursery business for 25 or 30 years," Riehm said. "I learned it from my mom, who probably learned it from her mom."

She continues to use her coffee grounds on many of her plants in Gainesville.

"My tomatoes are happy," Riehm said. "They're making flowers. I think I'll have tomatoes soon."

Gary Brinen, a local horticulture expert, said that coffee grounds, like the seeds of any plant, are bound to have some nutrients in them.

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"It's a good use of something that we normally throw away," he said.

Grounds may also prove helpful in the garden by deterring pests such as ants and slugs, Brinen said.

"I used to have snails really bad," Riehm said. "I don't have them as much right now."

While speaking with an expert is a good idea before using coffee grounds in gardening, Riehm said, her experience with using the grounds has been positive.

"It's great that you have one less thing in a landfill," she said. "If it has a beneficial quality for plants, why not use it?"

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