Picture of Put your paper coffee cup to good (re)use
Paper coffee cups. We use them, we throw them away. It happens. And if you're like me, you hate yourself for participating in this vicious cycle. But alas, the cycle continues.

I recently decided to start an indoor herb garden. Or try to at least. In gathering the necessary supplies I had a revelation! Plant the seeds in my old coffee cups! Now I can feel slightly less guilty when the barista at Starbucks hands me yet another latte in a paper cup.

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Step 1: Supplies

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Here's what you need:

Recycled paper coffee cup with lid
Recycled plastic tray - or something waterproof to catch the water and dirt
Soil (I used seed-starting mix and composted potting soil)
Spray bottle - I didn't have one so I used a recycled bottle

Step 2: Poke holes in the bottom of the cup

Picture of Poke holes in the bottom of the cup
Poke holes in the bottom of the cup. This is so the excess water can exit the cup and prevent drowning your seeds.

Step 3: Adding soil

Picture of Adding soil
For this step, I used half composted soil and half seed-starting mix. My mom gardens so I was able to take some of her compost and seed-starting mix back to New York with me. Compost is really wonderful but if you live in a city like me, it's hard to make your own. It may be worth locating local recycling/composting efforts if you're interested in responsible and sustainable gardening. For example in NYC the Lower East Side Ecology Center sells compost created from NYC household food waste, among other helpful products.

Fill the cup with equal parts compost and seed-starting mix. The compost should be on the bottom and will allow for keeping the seeds in the same cup after germination. Seed-starting mix is lighter so it should be on top, allowing the fragile seedlings to grow. 
ccarreer2 years ago
I love this idea! I am a regular at my local coffee shop, and I hate throwing away my cup after I'm finished with my mochas, but it just doesn't taste the same out of a mug. This will make me feel like less of a thorn in Mother Nature's side.
dubainoob3 years ago
What was the herb that germinated in 4 days?
skrysiak4 years ago
Neat idea! While the cups aren't biodegradable (they have a thin coating of plastic to make them leak-proof), any additional usage is obviously commendable. The lids help keep the seeds warm and moist during germination, and your suggested layering potting compost and seeding mix removes the need to transfer them to larger pots during the initial seedlings' growth.