A chemical engineer has created a "food biorefinery" that converts used coffee grounds and other food waste into succinic acid (Photo: Shutterstock)
Every year, the individual stores that make up Starbucks Hong Kong produce almost 5,000 tonnes (4,536 tons) 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.