Back in 2018, when Robert Luo saw buckets of milk thrown away on his uncle’s farm in China, he wanted to find a solution to this diary waste problem. That is how Mi Terro – a brand that converts waste milk to fabrics – was created. It was not just an answer to the agricultural waste but also to the fashion industry’s non-biodegradable waste. To give a clear picture of how much is wasted. According to the Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Security, “about 55m tonnes are lost before reaching a store.” BBC Future reported that “globally, the fashion industry is responsible for 10% of all greenhouse gas emissions.”
The greenhouse gas emission is the industry’s use of non-biodegradable resources. With petroleum being one of them, Mi Terro is firmly against using the material. Even its primary goal is to “replace petroleum materials with protein-based materials made from food waste.” The start-up explained that the microplastics produced by the fibre could have harmful effects – including cancer and heart diseases – on our human body. Beyond that, these microplastics are impossible to get rid of once they enter the ocean. Before making fabrics out of milk, the brand made travel bags from ocean waste.
This environmentally-conscious brand is in an attempt to become even more eco-friendly. The marque is focused on replacing the plastic materials used in packaging. It is currently in the progress of making the world’s very first compostable package that is made from beer waste.
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Mi Terro supplies its fibres to its clients who make the products. It recently collaborated with Discarded Spirits to make face masks. The website says that this milk fabric can be used to make different things such as blankets, toilet tissues, food packaging, and more. To date, the brand has partnered with Nike, Budweiser, Danone, Toyoshima and others.
Luo, who appeared in an episode of Cause Artist’s ‘Disruptors for GOOD’ podcast, talked about the process of producing the fabric. He said that the process initially took nearly two months and five t-shirts were made using one glass of milk. The company is working on its second prototype that will apparently be completely biodegradable and require 60 per cent less water than organic cotton. Mi Terro looks forward to collaborating with brands that are moving towards more sustainable materials.
Moreover, every time someone buys from Mi Terro, the brand plants 15 trees in collaboration with Eden Reforestation Projects and provides 20 free meals with the help of Operation Food Search. Mi Terro has planted more than 20 thousand trees and donated 380 plus meals so far.
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