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Coffee grounds

 
pollinator
Posts: 194
Location: NorCal
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I hope you don't mind if I vent for a moment.  I have loved gardening for years, but this year I found permies, and it has really inspired me to do more, do better.  I have been reading in several different posts about the super quality's of spent coffee grounds.  No one in my family  including myself drink coffee, so I have been thinking about where I could get some.  I work at Walmart, and lot of coffee is made in the break room.  I told my store manager I am in to gardening, and coffee grounds are very beneficial, and  if I provided a food grade bucket with a sign requesting the coffee grounds and filter be put into the bucket could I have them?  She said it might be messy. I told her it would have a lid.  She said she would have to check it out, and get back to me.  In a way that told me I would not hear from her at all.  More than a month later, no word.  Now there are two things that make me angry about this.  One, she is the manager if she didn't want it she should have been honest enough and forthcoming enough to just say so.  Two we are required to take little computer courses.  One we took a while back was how Walmart is going green, and look to have 0 percent waist in the future (which is unrealistic if you ask me).  Now I am offering to help  this goal and the answer is no, well it would be if it was delt with instead of being ignored.  I hate hypocrites.   Don't say one thing and do another.  Thank you for letting me vent, there is so much unhappiness and bad stuff going on in my store, my little problem is minor, so I will drop it. It just ticks me off, 14 years with the company, and I can't have some garbage.
 
gardener
Posts: 999
Location: South of Capricorn
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Vent away, heaven knows we all need the space. Keep an eye out and you may find some other place. I just recently noticed that my local supermarket has a takeout coffee section, and I am about to try to sweet talking them into letting me leave a bucket there. same as you say, lots of talk about sustainability but it remains to be seen whether anyone is willing to do anything beyond talk.
 
pollinator
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Would it work to ask for forgiveness rather than permission?  You could put a clean bucket with lid and signage in the break room at the start of your shift and take it home with you at the end.  The sign could just say "Organic waste especially coffee grounds - no garbage.  Please keep lid shut" and keep your name off it.

Chances are people would just think it's part of the lunch room unless it smelled or caused issues
 
Jen Fulkerson
pollinator
Posts: 194
Location: NorCal
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I think I have decided to take a container and put it in a reusable bag, and when ever I get time go back and put the coffee grounds in the container.  I wont get as much, but I will get some.  I'm not going to ask permission this time.  I figure I'm not hurting anyone, and if the manager has an issue with it I will tell her I thought she didn't want to deal with the bucket, and potential mess.  It still ticks me off, but oh well.  
 
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Bummer about your manager. Most people don’t mind if they don’t have any smell, or mess so if you do the bag thing just make sure you take it home each day. Another option is to ask a coffee shop. Most will give them away free to the first person who asks. At least that’s how it works in my area.
 
pollinator
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I can understand. I went to a local greengrocer asking if I could take the green vegetable waste they throw in the bin each day anyway. They enthusiastically said sure. Next morning I showed up and the guy had forgotten and threw it out, but kindly walked around to find other green scraps around. The day after he said he’d thrown them out and not to come anymore.

Anyway, you’ll get more coffee grounds from a cafe anyway, without the hassle of potentially dirty bins because the cafes here just empty the grounds into large plastic bags and you come collect the bags at closing time. I then use the large bags for stuff like storing homemade compost.

Also, coffee grounds are a risky thing to use in your garden. They can even make plant growth worse.
 
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Once upon a time, I tried a 5 gallon bucket with lid in the break room. It took quite some time to fill up, since me and my closest associates added to it. It was in a cabinet, so was relatively undisturbed and people were not grossed out. It was quite a pain to explain to guardians of the doors what I had and why. Because it took so long to fill, it got smelly even for me. Eventually I started taking in an empty quart yogurt or cottage cheese tub and each day put in the coffee grounds (with filter makes it easier), kept it in a cabinet or frig and bring it home each day. So the days I don't work, I don't get any. Since people have asked what I do with them, I tell them and say that I also bring home my apple cores, orange peels, etc. I now am gifted with fruit peels, often in a napkin, paper towel, newspaper or baggie. I keep a separate bag or container for those. I tend to cut up my peels to smaller pieces with scissors while watching videos! This is relatively discreet, and there are a few people I have no interest in taking home anything they touched so this is more easily avoided than a communal bucket. If anyone gives you any 'garbage' about bringing organic waste home...tell them  you are saving them in trash costs and keeping your lunch room from getting smelly or keeping the fly population down in your warm seasons. It couldn't hurt to bring back in a few 'fruits of your labor". I have gifted my compost supporters cherry tomatoes, cukes, strawberries, etc. I am guessing you might grow somethings that are not sold at your place of employment!
Coffee grounds in quantity have helped heat up my compost much better than anything I have tried so far. Just go for it!
 
gardener
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Location: Pacific Wet Coast
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I would love to have a good source of coffee grounds - I've heard they're good for starting mushrooms and I'd love to try it. Alas, I live in an enlightened community and the grounds are all spoken for. Hard to believe eh? We now have a mandated "green waste" disposal system, so theoretically it's all being composted. Unfortunately, I suspect a lot goes on a ferry to the mainland, and the rest goes up-island, and those two things bug me as we have lots of local farmers who could process compost on a small scale if they learned how to do it right. Everyone's afraid of it because too often it was being done in a stinky manner.
 
gardener
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Genevieve Higgs wrote:Would it work to ask for forgiveness rather than permission?  You could put a clean bucket with lid and signage in the break room at the start of your shift and take it home with you at the end.  The sign could just say "Organic waste especially coffee grounds - no garbage.  Please keep lid shut" and keep your name off it.  Chances are people would just think it's part of the lunch room unless it smelled or caused issues



This is exactly what I'd do.  Just put the bucket there and see what happens.  As long as you are emptying it regularly (2x a week), I can't imagine anyone having a problem with it.  If someone says, "Hey, that's not allowed", then you take your bucket and that's that.

It reminds me of an old joke my father used to tell:

A guy worked at a factory where they generated a lot of sawdust as a waste byproduct.  One night, he rolled a wheelbarrow full of sawdust toward the front gate.  The guard at the gate stopped him: "Hey, are you authorized to take that sawdust?"

The guy responded, "I didn't think I needed authorization to take something that's a waste product.  We just throw this stuff away."

The guard says to him, "You need to leave that here until you get a note from your supervisor that tells me that you can have this sawdust."

So the guy parks the wheelbarrow by the gate and goes home.

The next day, he showed up at the gate with the note from the supervisor: "This man has my permission to take as much sawdust as he wants.  Quit bothering him."

The guard said, "Hey, I'm sorry.  I was just trying to do my job."

The guy said, "No problem, as he grabbed the wheelbarrow and rolled out the gate with his free sawdust."

Two weeks later, the factory noticed that there were 10 wheelbarrows missing, but no one could figure out where they'd all gone.
 
Posts: 32
Location: Michigan, USA
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I have permission from my school to leave a small container in the staff lounge and collect grounds.  I have a small container that sits next to the coffee pot, I take it home weekly.  Took a few weeks to train people to put the grounds in it, but now most do a good job.  
I also stop at Starbucks every couple of days.  They set them out for free.  

 
Jen Fulkerson
pollinator
Posts: 194
Location: NorCal
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Marco thanks for the laugh.
 
Posts: 80
Location: Columbia Missouri
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Where I work we have about 600 people in the building and a coffee machine in the break room.  I have been collecting the coffee grounds for a few months now.  The only person I asked initially was the lady that makes the coffee.  I brought a 5 gallon bucket with a screw on lid that I bought in the paint dept at Home depot.  I leave the bucket between the coffee machine and the garbage can.  These things make it easier tor her to save me the grounds than throw them out.

The lid attracts some attention.  It is much easier to install and remove than a lid that snaps on.  So, the first thing people notice is something that looks like a good idea. It helps to shape their opinion of what I am doing.  I also make it a point to take the bucket home every day and return it clean and empty every morning.  When I am asked what I use them for I am quick to explain that I dig them into my garden.  "Worms are like people, when they have coffee they get ambitious.  By Spring my garden will be tilled and fertlized."  Everyone has been supportive.  Some of my coworkers have pointed out that Starbucks gives away bags of spent coffee grounds to anyone willing to take them.
 
pollinator
Posts: 238
Location: West Virginny and Kentuck
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I do what Thomas does.  My whole building houses less than a dozen people, so the take is small, but it really bugs me to see organic matter go to the landfill.  I use the handy-dandy 1ib. plastic coffee containers, just noting on the covers with Sharpie that it's compost.  It never smells bad - even when there is active molding going on inside.
 
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Most of the Starbucks in my city do not make spent grounds available. One does sporadically.  Another, the closest to me, provided great pickups 3 times a week. Then I backed off for the warm months when other gardeners were looking for them.A few months ago I went back. They got rid of the metal can and stopped savng the grounds as no one was coming for them. I said I would pick them up several times a week if they would save them. The manager agreed if I would provide the container. We agreed on a rubbermaid tub with top. For three weeks they kept it in the coffee making area and it was great. I got 16 gallons every two days. Then they moved the tub tothe opposite end of the counter, furthest away from the coffee-making area. Three weeks passed and there was less than a quart of grounds for that entire period. After repeated inquiries and assurances they would save them, four more weeks passed with nothing in the tubs. I finally removed them about 1.5 months ago. Since that time I have been unable to secure a local source of coffee grounds. Starbucks continues to be a bust. Two local chains actually have longstanding agreements (which I am happy about). Four other chains haven't answered emails and followup phone calls where they took my contact info andtold me they would get back to me have resulted in nothing. I've also been looking for a source of eggshells with the same lack of success.

Anyway, I wish you luck.
 
Erica Daly
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Starbucks near my home seemed to have a number of people  collecting grounds from that location. It took about 3 weeks to get a 5-gallon bucket full. They did not seem thrilled to have anyone bring in a bucket at all, like it was an extra task to think about. The place I collect from now was hesitant at first, until I mentioned I had 2 brand new buckets with lids and I could give my phone number and email if they changed their mind. They apparently had given away grounds before, but people were not as eager to pick them up after the first few weeks of enthusiasm. I have been collecting for two years now at this shop and it appears there are a few others now as well. I often am given their buckets as well, and return them as promptly as I can, so they always have buckets available to put grounds in. They may have a higher incentive, due to their dumpster access is a bit of a walk with a heavy bucket.They also put in egg shells and the filters and sometimes trimmings from the indoor plants. One of the buckets someone collects has a cute picture on it with flowers and birds. Perhaps a picture or quick grounds to growies description on a bucket...could entice one of them to add grounds to your tub .
 
pollinator
Posts: 243
Location: Central Texas
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Jen, any update on your situation at work?
 
Are you okay? You look a little big. Maybe this tiny ad will help:
A rocket mass heater is the most sustainable way to heat a conventional home
http://woodheat.net
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