This comes to us from the Daily News: Starbucks in Hong Kong wants to turn coffee grinds and old baked goods into laundry detergent and plastic.
The coffee chain wants to blend the stale baked goods with a mixture of fungi that helps break down the carbohydrates into simple sugars. The blend is then fermented in a vat where bacteria transform the sugars into succinic acid, a material that is used to make things such as laundry detergent, plastic, and medicine.
Sounds like a good idea, considering that in Hong Kong alone, Starbucks “produces about 5,000 tons of used coffee grounds and unconsumed baked goods that end up in the garbage bin every year. Most of the waste is incinerated, composted, or disposed of in landfills.”
This isn’t the first time a food company has attempted this. British supermarket chain Sainsbury’s uses anaerobic-digestion technology to turn food waste into energy. It’s a process that has generated enough electricity to power 2,500 homes.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 29, 2012