If you thought you were being creative with your coffee grounds when you dumped them in your compost heap or turned them into coffee scrub, wait till you get a load of what Raul Lauri does with his. The talented Spanish designer took first place for the Satellite award at the 2012 Salone Milan furniture deisgn show last week for his lamps, lights and tableware created from -- you guessed it -- coffee grounds.
These designs are seriously cool stuff.My personal favorite are these lamps modled into the shape of coffee mugs -- without a handle, of course. The very cool part? They only light up when you place them on their bases.
They're part of Lauri's Decafe line of household goods made from pressure- and heat-treated coffee grounds. The process fuses the grounds into a biodegradable and recyclable material that apparently molds nicely -- and retains the coffee aroma, especially when its warmed by the lights.
You can check out more of Lauri's designs at his Decafe website .
If you're feeling a like a bit of a shlump because all you do with your coffee grounds is toss them in the trash, here are a few other things you can do with used (or past-drinkable unused) coffee grounds.
Compost Them Coffee grounds are 100% compostable. Be aware that they're high in acid, which will make your compost more acidic. That's great for plants that love acidic soils -- roses, tomatoes, radishes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, hyacinths, gardenias and azaleas, just to name a few.
Fertilize Your Plants Most experts don't recommend putting coffee grounds directly into the potting soil without composting them first, but a lot of home gardeners disagree. You won't find anyone to tell you exactly how much to use, though, because it's so dependent on the original pH of your soil and whether you use other fertilizer. My grandmother used to chop up banana peels, mix them with eggshells and coffee grounds and lightly dig the whole mess into the soil of her bigger potted plants. And Nana grew some awesomely magnificent rubber tree plants, fig trees and aloe plants.
Deodorize Your Hands Chopping onions and cooking fish can leave your hands smelling nasty for hours. Just sprinkle some used coffee grounds on your hands and wash as usual -- no more fishy, garlicky or oniony smell.
Keep Slugs and Bugs Away Slugs apparently don't like the feeling of coffee grounds on their slimy little bellies. Sprinkle a line of coffee grounds around your vegetable patch or herb garden and they'll stay away. Especially useful around your tomato plants, which seem to attract slugs like nothing else.