1 in every 8 deaths that occur is somehow associated with air pollution.
Each year 1.2 trillion gallons of untreated sewage, stormwater, and industrial waste are dumped into US water.
With statistics like those everywhere, it's easy to be desensitized. One of the biggest challenges eco-friendly startups face is competing against brand-name companies. This is because, even though these companies aren't eco-friendly, it's hard to beat the brand loyalty their customers have.
Four USC students started a company called Mi Terro, whose mission is to Make Earth Green Again. Their first product is a cork duffle suitcase and they're 100% eco-friendly, cruelty-free, and vegan.
Cork is harvested from the bark of cork oak trees and the process doesn't involve cutting down trees. Because of that, batches of cork are only harvested every nine years when they grow back. Cork comes in different grades. There's the wine-stopper cork found everywhere, but there's also premium cork which NASA uses for their fuel tanks. Mi Terro goes with the latter. The material is less dense but more durable than leather, and it is woven into an unbelievably soft material. The straps on the bags are made from recycled ocean plastic, which looks and feels like leather.
The process of converting plastic bottles into a leather-like bag is:
1. Collect, sort, and clean the bottles from the ocean
2. Chop the plastic into little flakes and heat into plastic pellets
3. Stretch the pellets to make yarn and weave the yarn into fabric
On top of this all, Mi Terro plants a tree for every bag they sell through a partnership with One Tree Planted. Check out their website here or follow their Instagram @miterro.fashion to stay up-to-date up with them! They'll be launching a Kickstarter soon, so keep an eye out!