Want to be a greener citizen in 2019? A local ice cream chain can help.

J.P. Licks will offer free bags of coffee grounds for composting starting Dec. 27.

The J.P. Licks cow in Jamaica Plain. David L. Ryan / The Boston Globe

Is “saving the planet” one of your New Year’s resolutions? J.P. Licks is hoping to give you an extra push.

Founded in 1981 in Jamaica Plain, the local ice cream chain’s original location is ramping up its sustainability efforts with a new program that launches on Thursday: coffee composting.

“We sell 55 to 65 pounds of coffee each week,” said J.P. Licks marketing manager Adele Traub, who conceptualized the program. “And we usually just throw the grounds away.”

Traub was visiting the Loring Greenough House, a Jamaica Plain community center built in 1760 that offers events throughout the year, both inside the house’s parlor and on its sprawling lawn.


“I reached out to them to see if they wanted our coffee grounds for their lawn,” Traub said. “But then we thought, Why don’t we start making this available to the public?”

This Thursday at 6 a.m. at the J.P. Licks location in Jamaica Plain, customers will be able to pick up bags of free coffee grounds for their own composting piles and gardens. The bags will hold two to four pounds of grounds, and will be available while supplies last. After this Thursday, customers can pick up grounds every Tuesday and Thursday; once the shop figures out how to make the program run smoothly, it hopes to provide the used coffee grounds in all 16 stores.

The idea received immediate support from J.P. Licks founder Vince Petryk, who Traub said nostalgically remembered putting coffee grounds in his grandmother’s rose bushes as a child. Jamaica Plain’s City Councilor Matt O’Malley, who is a vocal advocate for curbside composting programs in Boston, was also quick to show his support by joining Petryk in announcing the new initiative.

Traub said saving the grounds that head roaster Hank Rose produces isn’t a time-consuming affair — instead of throwing them away, baristas simply put the grounds into bags and then store them in a freezer. The bags are then taken out the night before to defrost.


While the ice cream shop doesn’t have its own compost pile, Traub said that could happen in the future — and that other local stores should pay attention.

“I hope more business start doing this,” she said. “It’s a great way to try to combat climate change.”

J.P. Licks, 659 Centre St., Boston; Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6 a.m. while supplies last;