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Los Angeles Times
Link to article:
Starbucks Coffee Grounds, Unsold Food Become Laundry Detergent
In the latest example of corporations jumping on the reuse and recycle bandwagon to promote environmental awareness, economy and brand identity, Starbucks has started an experimental program in Hong Kong to recycle its used coffee grounds and unsold food products to produce raw materials that can be used to produce laundry detergent and plastics.
Excerpt: "Rather than dump its coffee grounds and unsold baked goods into landfills or incinerators, Starbucks is trying to be more productive with its food waste – by transforming it into plastic and laundry detergent.
At a biorefinery set up by the City University of Hong Kong, scientists are testing some of the 4,500 tons of stale pastries and coffee bean bits produced annually by Starbucks Hong Kong, according to the American Chemical Society.
The organic matter is blended with a mixture of fungi, where enzymes break down carbohydrates in the food into simple sugars. The concoction is then sent to a fermenter, where bacteria convert the sugars into succinic acid – a material that can then be formulated into a range of products -- including detergent."