What Can You Do With Coffee Waste?

My wife and I tend to drink quite a bit of coffee. Probably not the best habit but with two kids and both us working full time plus some, it sometimes seems like the only way to get through the day and accomplish everything we need to do. So as you can imagine if we are drinking a lot of coffee we tend to have a lot of coffee waste. Typically we have just been throwing it out, but once I got the worm bin set up again I started putting the coffee grinds and filters in. Then I was wondering what would happen if I had a bin that only had coffee grinds and filters in it.

So about two weeks ago I started saving the leftover coffee in a small plastic container. After a week or so I had enough to be about 1/2 full. So I drilled some air holes in the top and put ten red wiggler worms in there. I’ve checked on it a couple of times so far and it seems like the worms are always on the lid, which is making me think they don’t like it all that much. I’m starting to guess that it might be a pH problem. Although I checked on it tonight and only one worm was on the lid…

red wigglers in a coffee only worm bin

Just one on the lid

So maybe they are getting used to it and getting settled in. Really its only been about a week (actually a little less) so maybe it was just a new habitat and they didn’t know where to be yet. I’ll keep checking and see what’s what.

In time I’m going to need to drill some drain holes in the bottom of the bin to let liquid out but so far it doesn’t seem to be an issue. Either way, if these worms in this bin keep at it for a few months this is going to me some awesome compost for the garden in the spring! I might just track how well the plants near this compost do compared to other plants with out worm compost.

The other experiment I have going right now is in my main bin. I put 1.5 pounds of juicer pulp in the worm bin (which has about 2,000 red wigglers in it) weeks ago. So far it appears that they really haven’t touched the food at all. I’m trying to figure out why. Right now I’m thinking it’s either because the food was poured on the top and they don’t want to come up and get it, or because it’s too cold in my basement for their liking.

For now I’m testing to see about it being on the surface. So I put some paper on the top of the food to see if the worms make their way up to eat a little (what better use for junk mail can there be right?). I opened the worm bin tonight and noticed a dried up worm on the top of the paper. I guess he got up there and then couldn’t find his way off the paper. Sad 🙁

one dead red wiggler

RIP wiggler

The encouraging this about this though is I started thinking there must have been some worm activity. So maybe the paper was doing it’s job and the worms were making their way up? This is what it looked like under the paper.

red wigglers under paper cover

Doesn't look like much eating is going on so far

For a brief moment I thought I might pull back the paper and see a big clump of worms chowing down on the food. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like much was going on. Just one red wiggler that was exploring and got lost on top of some dry paper. I guess I’ll give the paper cover a try for a week more or so (it’s really only been a couple days with the paper on top). Hopefully it does the trick.

If not then I’ll be even more convinced that it’s related to the cool temperature in my basement. If so then maybe I’ll pick up a heater of some kind. Maybe something from the pet store that people use in reptile tanks? Guess we’ll see. If I do find a heater that works I’ll offer it on my online worm store for you.