Sunday, March 19, 2006

What to do with those coffee grounds?

I recently purchased a french press for making coffee--which I love--and while dumping out yet another batch of spent coffee grounds in my sink this morning, I found myself wondering whether I should be putting those things down the garbage disposal or not. So, I took a quick spin through Google, and from what I turned up coffee grounds are either:
  1. An absolutely perfect thing to put down the drain, even helping freshen up a stinky disposal unit; or,
  2. One of the few things (like corn husks and large volumes of fats) that you shoud NEVER EVER EVER put down a disposal, for Pete's sake
There are a slew of articles on the web (such as this one and this one) that apparently all derived their material from the same source, which is purported to be "The In-Sink-Erator Division of Emerson Electric", who certainly sound like they should know what they are talking about. This list, oddly enough, tells you that hard materials such as bones and fruit pits are just fine and, because of their scouring action, can actually help the device.

However, if you search the In-Sink-Erator website itself, you'll find this article, which cites getting rid of coffee grounds as one of the key reasons to buy an In-Sink-Erator in the first place. (And, there doesn't to be any document on the site that has the do's and don'ts list referenced all over the web.)

None of the sites I found that said "don't put grounds down the disposal" gave any reason at all why they would be bad for the device. So, I'll continue to dump 'em and grind 'em.

Interestingly enough, all sources seem to agree that you should use cold water when grinding fats and meats. The best explanation for this I've seen is that hot water will melt the fats and make it clog the mechanism. For all these years I thought it was the other way around . . .


Robert said...

Okay, so my Mom piped in and opined that I should be dumping my coffee grounds into a compost heap rather than ruining our water supply with garbage. Fair enough.

But, the question still remains not whether the grounds are bad for the environment but rather whether they are bad for the garbage disposal itself. And, I can only assume, that they are fine for the machinery.

Read & Tell Reviews said...

I was just looking for this exact answer for the same reason - new french press, what to do with the grounds!?! Great post. I still have no clue, but at least I'm not the only one!

daytraitors said...

Dump them in the trash. It doesn't harm the machine, but it clogs municipal sewers and makes it.expensive to treat water. Why not tap the french press into a garbage or compost bin? It's so easy.

Anonymous said...

My spouse likes to include the coffee filter, and other paper products. I think that is probably a bad idea.

Another tip, my mom tried putting artichoke remains down the sink food disposal years ago, and had to call a plumber to clean up the mess. Almost destroyed the machine.

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