Much ado about nothing? Coffee Grounds

Discussion in 'Meals and Menu Planning' started by designer, Feb 10, 2019.

  1. designer

    designer Paddler

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    Occasionally I like to add a little "fun" to the discipline of simple camp dinning. For example, using those plastic take-apart wine glasses for evening meal libations. A similar treat is French Press coffee in the morning - instead of something out of a foil pouch (even if it did come from Seattle).

    But one of my other meal characteristics is usually all the food/drink is consumed and I only have a little packaging left to manage. If I use the French Press, I have product/odor to dispose of.

    If I'm rising out a foil pouch, I have no guilt rinsing it at the tide line. But a clump of coffee grounds is more substantial. I'm not talking a table size 6-8 cup press. This is an "individual" one that handles only about a cup and a half, depending upon the size of your "cup".

    If I bury it, that involves digging and at a location some distance from camp I imagine - which involves a digging tool, etc. I'm tired already. :) Maybe just opening a foil pouch isn't so bad. Maybe I could put the instant coffee (no left overs) in the press - just for presentation.

    So, coffee drinkers out there - who end up with coffee grounds - how do you dispose of them?
    1) dump in the ocean as you wash things out
    2) bury in the ground some distance from camp
    3) add to your food waste (usually just paper/foil packaging) accumulation to carry out at trip end
    4) other?
     
  2. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Under #4 'Other', some folks/groups use a drybag (one of the 'rubbery' PVC coated 5L bags) to collect leftovers and rinse it all away after getting underway the next morning.

    It's good to think about these things. I was on an 'overnighter' last year with some friends I often day-paddle with.
    Stayed at an established campsite with tent platforms and picnic tables.
    I was 'surprised' when one guy ("been kayak camping for 30 years!") dumped his pasta cooking water into the bushes next to the picnic table (and tent site). Another rinsed out his chili pot and threw that in the same bush!!
    I can't use 'dumbfounded' here as I did say something!! Mind-boggling.
    That's how we all get our little lists of 'never trip with that guy', I guess......
    ...right below the "It's starting to rain but I'm just not in the mood to help put up a tarp over the table" guy from a few years back. :)
     
  3. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Coffee grounds are nontoxic (to humans, anyway) plant matter, albeit roasted. I find a rapidly churning, turbulent surf zone near my campsite, with a sandy bottom and cast them out. I would not toss them onto plant or animal life in an intertidal zone, though I doubt seaweed would be affected.
     
  4. alexsidles

    alexsidles Paddler

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    I often discard my waste water in exactly this manner, unless I am washing dishes down on the beach, in which case I pour it out there. I'm surprised at your surprise! To me, it seems totally inoffensive to pour out waste water onto a bush somewhere near the cooking area. Have I just been a barbarian all these years? Unless it's close enough to the tent to cause an odor, what's the harm?

    Paul, sorry for the thread hijack. I rarely drink coffee, and when I do, it's always the foil packets.

    Alex
     
  5. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Pasta cooking water is 'just water' to you and me, but certainly is something much more interesting to an animal nose. Pasta water certainly will attract animal attention, and should be dumped in the ocean, in my opinion.
    If you have ever had a dog around the house, you'll probably understand. :)
    If it's common camper behaviour to dump cooking and dishwashing water in the bushes beside a tent pad, no wonder raccoons are 'a problem' at some sites!
    I must have led a more sheltered life than I thought, having seen this for the first time recently......
    :)
     
  6. Tangler

    Tangler Paddler

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    Put them in your "compostables" container to deal with at home?
    John, those guys sound like a guy I was on a trip with several years ago (I hadn't met him before and he was a total PITA). He bought a rotisserie chicken in Campbell river and proceeded to dismember it at our first campsite then wipe his chickeny fingers on the bushes around the kitchen area. Took some persuading to get him to not bury the bones etc behind the tents...
    As for waste water, when car camping we always either put it in the fire pit or, preferably, down the waste water hole by the water tap. If on a beach it goes in the ocean with no more than small food particles.
    Some of those furry critters sure have a good sense of smell and dirty campsites aren't just a problem for those who mess them up...
    On the above mentioned trip someone else dumped a large load of uneaten pasta in the intertidal...
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
  7. designer

    designer Paddler

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    Alex, no problem with the hijack - I do it all the time :) I mean, I try to be good, but ...

    The camp food smells segue is pretty much on track. Yes - that "non-smelling" cook water has more attraction to animals than us. In the PNW, mountain goat area, we are instructed to pee on the ground instead of a wannabe tree (i.e. bush) because the goats go after the salt and destroy the foliage.

    I don't have good experiences with "Tidal Zones" because food (or worse) is not something I want to paddle into. At one camp in the Deer Group, a previous visitor/s dropped a load in a place they probably thought was going to be washed away at high tide. It wasn't and we all knew it when the wind changed direction.

    I do clean the dishes at the tide line but again, with what I eat, it is more a swish of a pouch or salt water rinse rather than any "bulk" of food.

    I guess I was concerned that with coffee grounds we'd start seeing starfish drag races of something. But the amount of an individual French Press is pretty small - just much more product than I'm used to tossing.
     
  8. Tangler

    Tangler Paddler

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    Sounds like you like to be as low impact as possible.
    I use ziplock bags for food waste and keep them further sequestered in a plastic garbage bag. Often it is a lot smellier stuff than coffee grounds so if you were inclined I'm sure that would work well for you.
     
  9. designer

    designer Paddler

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    Instant mash potatoes - completely eaten. Foil pouch contents (heat pouch for 5 minutes in boiling water, then pour on top of mashed potatoes) - completely eaten. Some red liquid in a "glass" - down the hatch. Potatoes - I've learned I can't eat a whole package (serves 4) so I split it into two ziplock bags at home. That gives me one empty ziplock bag to store and one foil pouch to rinse out. Glass/bowl/spoon swished and usually rinsed with fresh water - done.

    Pretty boring but it is fuel. Food prep isn't my strong suit. I'm there for the adventure, not the cuisine.

    One of my paddling partners is Vegan/Organic/Non-GMO/Gluten Free. There are limiting factors to food choices.
     
  10. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Food waste..huh?
    :):):)
    I eat it all, even if I don't 'feel like it'.
    "no dessert if you don't eat your first course"....can't outlive some habits, I think....
    :D
    but, I would draw the line at coffee grounds or banana and orange peels...but I never take those along anyway.
     
  11. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    My son uses the guideline for food refuse that if it can grow there, it is OK to dispose of it in the sea ... away from the campsite. I think he figures that a half eaten apple is pretty similar to one that fell off a tree and rolled into the briny.
     
  12. Tangler

    Tangler Paddler

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    Not "left overs" John. :eek:
    Stuff left over from prep like onion skins/ends, teabags or rotten broccoli (on long trips).
     
  13. WGalbraith

    WGalbraith Paddler

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    My trips are frequent and tend to be 7-10 days long. In my food bags I take along a couple of large , heavy zip-lock bags to deal with refuse. One bag contains the foil/plastic wrappings and such and the other one what I deem burnable. This includes, fruit and vege peelings, skins and grounds. At days end, while enjoying a fire below high tide, I burn the paper, and vege peelings. Anything that doesn't get burned goes back in the bag for the next fire. All plastic and non compostable material is kept and disposed of at home.
     
  14. designer

    designer Paddler

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    I used to use a plastic grocery bag at the table. Stick the handle/loop through the gap between wood slats, stick a twig in the handle perpendicular to the wood slats; let the bag hang under the table. It was used for empty individual coffee foils, dental floss, etc. Problem was, when I'd hoist the food up after the meal, I'd always forget the "garbage" - especially if there was teeth flossing at the end of the day. So I started bringing a wide twist lid plastic container that used to hold electrolyte power. It's large enough to hold my trash and after five outings, no critter has been able to open it. I do store it away from camp, often put it at the base of the tree where the food is hanging. But at least I don't have to lower the food to tie up some forgotten item. As long as I fold the pouches instead of just crush them up, I can get a full week of packaging in there - energy bar wrappers, coffee pouches, rice/mash potato toppings, etc. So I'm not carrying "empty space", It might hold the pre-apportioned oatmeal, nuts, dried fruit ziplock bags that hold breakfast. Rinsed foil bags go into a ziplock bag that goes into this small trash "can", so there is nothing wet that is exposed. As the breakfast bags and energy bars are consumed, there is more room for trash - balances out well.

    So it seems I'm okay with tossing a few coffee grounds (away from camp) - though a coffee plant itself might have a hard time growing in the PNW. We did have a coffee plant at home. After several years it was about as high as the ceiling and yielded five or six beans - which we crushed, roasted, and had our own "home grown" coffee.
     
  15. pawsplus

    pawsplus Paddler

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    Coffee grounds are supposed to be GOOD for plants. So you are probably doing the local flora a favor! :)
     
  16. Jasper

    Jasper Paddler

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    The whole purpose of the ''leave no trace" philosophy is to not upset the delicate balance of the ecosystems we recreate in. While a certain amount of coffee grounds can be beneficial to certain plants (by retaining water and providing carbon), this can benefit certain plants at the expense of others that need more acrid conditions. This in turn can have an effect on animal life that depends on these plants, etc, etc.

    As an example: fertilizer is good for plants, however it's runoff into our surface water has been linked to toxic algea blooms killing of millions of animals each year.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2019
  17. designer

    designer Paddler

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    What if it was decaf?
     
  18. paddler

    paddler Paddler

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    Had this exact same thought process and resigned myself to forgoing the fancy camp coffee to avoid the grounds issue. Then I was introduced to the aeropress at my inlaws. Takes a bit to figure it out to your tastes (I do not follow the original instructions. My variation - poor hot water, let stand for 30 seconds to allow grounds to wet out without stirring, then s l o w l y push plunger) but once you do the coffee's great. And the best part is the coffee grounds are compressed into a puck that is easy to eject into the receptacle of your choice. As I also supplement dried food with fresh additions I usually have some kind of organic garbage, including the grounds, that I collect in a double ziploc or screw top container and pack out for composting at home. My garbage is smaller and weighs less than the food it replaces so space is never an issue. Mostly it was figuring out a system that allowed me to feel comfortable storing my "garbage" with my food as it's all the same to an animal.
     
  19. Man in qajaq

    Man in qajaq Paddler

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    When this thread started I googled 'is coffee grounds good for my garden' and discovered that it has both for and against qualities.
    It seems a lot of grounds may have detrimental effects but moderation is the key.
    This does not transfer to the wild though. A few grounds dumped only once may not hurt but if everyone dumped them it may cause problems.
    The same goes for the landfills. If one person dumps their compostables in the trash may not make a difference but if everyone does it will. That's why we have compost programs. In the end, one person can make a difference.
    My view is to keep the wild wild.
    Everyone should adopt the leave no trace philosophy. YOU can set an example for others that will inspire them too. Let's keep the wilderness wild and balanced for future generations by not being selfish. 'I don't want to deal with my garbage so I'll just dump it here' is not the attitude we want to have while on our wilderness trips. Please take the view that your actions will determine the future and the consequences will affect others.
    Nature is our precious gift and we are fortunate to enjoy it. Let's keep it for future generations to enjoy also.
     
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