WASHINGTON (WNEW) — Its thick, creamy consistency along with a heavy dose of protein has made Greek yogurt the go-to breakfast for many and created a gold mine for yogurt brands.

But as the $2 billion Greek yogurt market continues to grow, so does an unexpected caveat: a yogurt byproduct that is harmful for the environment.

Modern Farmer reported in 2013 that for every three or four ounces of milk, Chobani and other companies can only produce one ounce of yogurt. The rest becomes acid whey, which is a runny, toxic substance.

Acid whey is so harmful it could turn a waterway into a “dead sea” and destroy aquatic life if it is dumped, the report says.

Not surprisingly, the state best known for dairy production is leading the way to find a solution.

Refinery 29 reports that researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are finding practical applications, such as “fancy filters” to separate the components of acid whey into something usable for other food products.

One of those components is lactose, which food companies will pay good money for in food-grade form.

Scientists say the technology isn’t there yet, but is “quite far along.”

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