Every year, the individual stores that make up Starbucks Hong Kong produce almost 5,000 tons (4,536 tonnes) of used coffee grounds and unconsumed bakery items. As it stands now, all of that waste is incinerated, dumped in a landfill, or composted. In the future, however, it may be used to produce a key ingredient in laundry detergents, plastics, and many other items. A recent experiment showed that it can indeed be done.
The project began when the non-profit organization The Climate Group approached Dr. Carol S. K. Lin, a chemical engineer at the City University of Hong Kong.
Tags: biorefineries, biorefinery, fungi, enzymes, food waste, bacteria, sugars, succinic acid
Source: gizmag, 2012-08-21.