Waste Not

Can old food really be repurposed?

Nearly 1.5 billion tons. That's how much spoiled and uneaten food people around the world throw out each year. In the U.S., roughly 40% of the food supply is wasted, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). But that kind of trash could soon become a lot more useful.

Building on efforts to turn grains and even human waste into biofuels and other valuable chemicals, Carol Lin, a biochemical engineer at the City University of Hong Kong, is developing a new kind of biorefinery. To head off a crisis at Hong Kong's landfills--they're going to be full within five years--she...

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