We've all tested that el cheapo "Day Old Baked Goods" basket at the cafe, and most of us have been burned by it, whether it's with a chocolate chip cookie that goes to dust in your mouth or a scone you could use to hammer nails. Researchers at the University of Hong Kong
, working in conjunction with coffee giant Starbucks
, have developed a new use for pastries that have overstayed their welcome. By treating the pastries in a bio-refinery, lead researcher Carol S. K. Lin
and her team break down the baked goods into their most basic forms
-- strands of simple sugar molecules. Those simple sugars can then get a new lease on life as bioplastics or detergents,
turning food bound for the dumpster into your next plastic water cup.