On October 19, Earth.Org had a conversation with Robert Luo, an entrepreneur and co-founder of social impact biotechnology company Mi Terro. In our chat, we talked about how his start-up company is currently tackling two of the world’s biggest environmental problems, food waste and plastic pollution, by creating biodegradable plastic packaging film and textile fibre from milk waste, as well as the challenges in establishing a circular economy in the food, packaging, and fashion industries.
Robert spoke with Earth.Org about several topics, including:
- The inspiration for his social impact biotechnology company, Mi Terro, which came following his experience at his uncle’s chicken farm in China and witnessing the amount of milk waste that was left behind.
- The considerations and processes in creating a circular economy, and how to promote a closed-loop production system.
- The science and technology behind creating a textile fibre from expired dairy, which has the potential of eliminating the environmental impacts of the fast fashion industry, as well as his current development of biodegradable, plant-based packaging film to replace single-use plastics.
- The current landscape for start-up companies, especially those working on solutions to mitigate climate change, is still relatively new. No single company or solution can solve the plastic and food waste crises, and it’s important for companies to collaborate and share new ideas with each other.
The development of alternatives to single-use plastics as well as the materials science industry is still in its infancy. A lot more progress, funding and widespread adoption is needed before the world can replace plastics completely. Manufacturers and large corporations should also increase their current sustainability programmes, support more innovations and designs, which in turn help commercialise sustainable products and make them competitive in current markets.
You can check out the full length video of Earth.Org ‘s conversation with Robert Luo below:
You might also like: In Conversation with Climate Activist Martin Skadal