In recognition of their efforts to recycle coffee grounds into feed for dairy cows, the first time anything like this has been tried in Japan, Menicon Co., Ltd. (Headquarters: Nagoya, Aichi prefecture; CEO: Hidenari Tanaka) and Starbucks Coffee Japan, Ltd. (Headquarters: Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo; CEO: Jun Sekine) have been jointly honored with the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ Award, part of the 2nd Food Industry Mottainai Awards organized by the Japan Organics Recycling Association (JORA).
An award ceremony and presentation session was held at the TKP Akasakaeki Conference Center on Thursday March 5, 2015. The event was attended by Menicon CEO Hidenari Tanaka and Starbucks Coffee Japan CEO Jun Sekine.
As part of environmental eco projects, Menicon is already developing materials to accelerate the decomposition of rice straw and cow’s manure, using enzymes discovered through the process of developing care products. It has also been conducting research into antiseptic and fermentation technologies. Menicon has succeeded in turning coffee grounds into cattle feed by applying fermentation acceleration technology developed by the company to date. It has established and commercialized technology capable of lactic-acid fermenting coffee grounds, once they have been hygienically collected from Starbucks stores. This enables long-term storage and means that grounds can be used as animal feed.
Research into recycling coffee grounds into feed was spearheaded by Menicon, which established effective feed recycling technology in conjunction with recycling operator Sanyu Plant Service Co., Ltd. (Headquarters: Sagamihara, Kanagawa prefecture; President: Kazufumi Komatsu). It then joined forces with Azabu University (Kazuhiro Kawai, Associate Professor) to conduct efficacy research, which led to the discovery of an effective antioxidant that could help to improve the quality of milk (lower somatic cell count)*1 if fed to dairy cows. With milk shipments on the increase as a result of lactic acid fermentation, the technology has also been brought into wider use thanks to acclaim from dairy farmers.
At the award ceremony, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Hidemichi Sato commented on the reasons for the award. “As part of this truly groundbreaking initiative, Menicon and Starbucks Coffee Japan have established technology to enable coffee grounds, which were previously difficult to recycle, to be used as feed for cows, whose milk can then be used in drinks in Starbucks stores. Here at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries too, we intend to keep on promoting initiatives geared towards the sustainable growth of the food industry whilst also focusing on the ‘mottainai’ spirit of eliminating waste.”
Working in partnership with Starbucks Coffee Japan, Menicon remains committed to reducing environmental impact, with the aim of contributing to a recycling-oriented society in the future.
*1 Presented at the 155th Meeting of the Japanese Society of Veterinary Science (March 28-30, 2013)
Patent application for the effects of coffee on improving milk quality in lactating cows (Patent 2013-080785)