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Cattle Feed, Bioplastics, and Other Experiments With Starbucks Coffee

Wagyu beef cattle at Sekiguchi Farm in Kamisato, Saitama Prefecture, Japan
Wagyu beef cattle at Sekiguchi Farm in Kamisato, Saitama Prefecture, JapanPhotograph by Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

A small number of cows in Japan are now noshing on feed made with used Starbucks coffee grounds. The unexpected maker of the product: Menicon, a contact lens company in Nagoya.

For nearly 20 years, Starbucks has been giving away used coffee grounds to customers for free to use in compost for their gardens. But finding uses for them in industry would be more effective for a company that buys 400 million pounds of coffee globally each year.