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Thread: Interesting new study - coffee grounds plus stale pastry equal plastic page

  1. #1
    Mammoth toppler's Avatar
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    Interesting new study - coffee grounds plus stale pastry equal plastic

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    Not sure how on-topic this is for any forum, but just wanted to share this interesting link with anyone who may be interested; In Hong Kong, Starbucks Biorefinery Turns Stale Pastry and Coffee Grounds Into Plastic | Popular Science

    Apparently in Hong Kong, they have decided to put the sugars in food wastes to use, marrying them with coffee beans to make a plastic material.

    I guess that's the only logically supportable justification for the existence of pastries... their potential for eventual transmogrification into something more useful than the trans fats, sugars, and preservatives they consist of in their natural state.

    Something as a primal just makes me want to snicker at this a wee bit

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    Uh, not so sure how great an idea this is. I'd be interested to see whether pastry plastic would be an issue for those with Celiac or allergies. My coffee grounds go into the compost pile or directly into my garden.

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    I think this is a great idea. There's already probably tons of corn in your plastic, so I don't see the issue with using leftover junk foods. The article says it will all be heavily refined before being turned into whatever product it ends up being, and whatever it ends up being won't be edible, so I'd say it's unlikely that Celiacs would have an issue with it. It will be interesting to find out though!

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    It seems logical to me to avoid (as much as is possible) having plastic in contact with your food anyway.
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    All the things we manufacture and use come from raw materials. Things like plastics contain polymers and plastic is typically made from natural gas and oil. In other words, from combinations of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. So it seems like a fairly good idea to make plastic from raw materials that originate from food waste rather than mining. Unless it actually takes more energy to make plastic this way than the normal way. Then it's only solving one problem at the expense of others.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbhikes View Post
    All the things we manufacture and use come from raw materials. Things like plastics contain polymers and plastic is typically made from natural gas and oil. In other words, from combinations of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. So it seems like a fairly good idea to make plastic from raw materials that originate from food waste rather than mining. Unless it actually takes more energy to make plastic this way than the normal way. Then it's only solving one problem at the expense of others.
    +1. Also, I get ridiculously excited whenever I hear about a research study involving getting plants or other organisms (bacteria?) to grow plastic feedstocks. It's totally doable--been demonstrated in algae, switchgrass and I think other plants. It's just too expensive to do commercially, but hopefully someday all of our plastics will be completely biodegradable products of living things, that you could literally throw on the ground and they would decompose. Someday, someday...

    I've heard good things about the mycelium of certain fungi being used as building materials, too. You can literally grow the fungi into bricks using special mold forms. Then you just kill the living fungus by drying it, and the mycelium left behind is a strong, light natural composite that has good insulating properties (being made of hollow fibers) and is resistant to rot and mold. it's pretty cool stuff.

    I am really excited to see what bioengineering will do in the next couple of decades. It's still a very new field.
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    corn PLA is quite common. IIRC, Stonyfield yogurt comes packaged in it just as an example. supposed the proteins are destroyed in processing, so there's nothing to be allergic to.

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    I'm certainly all for looking for alternatives to petrochemicals, but I've also read that some with celiac react to plastics made from wheat. Perhaps the process is different, but something to think about.

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