Americans love coffee, and that means vast quantities of used coffee grounds wind up in the trash every day. According to Mike Theuer, owner of the Grow Joe fertilizing business, “Starbucks alone produces enough coffee waste to equal four 747's per year in weight.” Starting your own coffee ground recycling business can help reduce some of that waste and make you a nice profit.

Starting your business

Step 1.

Discover the many uses for used coffee grounds. Green Living Tips says coffee grounds can be used for making compost, feeding your worm farm, repelling insects, making liquid fertilizer, absorbing odors and even as a wood stain. Develop a list of potential customers for your product. Assess your business goals and decide which type of potential customer you should focus on for your advertising purposes.

Step 2.

Write a business plan for your coffee ground recycling business. The Small Business Administration suggests you think of your business plan as a resume for your company. Your business plan is a constantly evolving document that helps you keep your business goals on track. Request assistance from the free counselors provided by the Small Business Administration if you need help developing your plan.

Step 3.

Collect used coffee grounds from local coffee shops. Mike Theuer says he receives 50 to 100 pounds of used grounds from his local Starbucks each day. Go to local coffee houses and schedule a convenient time to meet with the manager or owner. Be respectful of the rush hour for coffee shops. Try approaching cafes later in the morning or in the early afternoon. You don’t want to interrupt shop employees while they are busy with customers.

Step 4.

Target large offices and other businesses in your area about donating their used coffee grounds. Unless they already have been approached by another recycling concern, businesses will produce large quantities of used grounds you could use for your business. Provide plastic bins to businesses for recycling their used grounds. Schedule regular pick ups for the full bins. Sustainable Enterprises suggests asking gas stations and convenience stores for their coffee grounds as well.


To focus your advertising more effectively, choose a specific type of customer for your used coffee ground business. Expand your customer base after your business has become profitable.