The world has become highly dependent on plastic without even noticing it. But now, we are slowly drowning in plastic and it’s doing more harm than good to the only planet we call home.
Ocean plastic, in particular, is killing more marine animals than we could ever imagine and this trend will continue if we don’t put an end to plastic use or find some ways to re-use single use plastics, which make up 40% of the total plastics manufactured worldwide.
At the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business, a group of students formed a startup called Mi Terro, which combines Spanish and Portuguese languages meaning “My Earth.” Robert Luo, the company’s CEO said: “I chose this name because most of the cork trees grow in Spain and Portugal.”
But what makes this startup revolutionary is its product: the first premium cork duffle suitcase in the world. These students have created a travel bag made entirely of cork and recycled ocean plastic.
The Mi Terro CDS (Cork Duffle Suitcase) was funded in less than 22 hours after it launched on Kickstarter in February, and it has supporters from more than 20 countries around the world.
Each travel bag is created using about two pounds of recycled plastic, which comes from an ocean cleaning and recycling agency in China, according to Luo. Each bag also uses one pound of plastic harvested from the ocean. This material is used for the bag’s zippers, handles, linings and utility pockets.
Mi Terro will also re-use and recycle your duffle suitcase once you’re done using it, which should be a while since it is created to last long, especially because you’re hand carrying it rather than checking it in.
According to Mi Terro’s Kickstarter page, the bag can fit up to five days’ worth of clothes and it has 17 features that are all useful for travelling. The bag can be pre-ordered on Mi Terro’s website for $275 and shipping will start mid-July.
Lou is proud to say that all its bags are created properly and in a facility that promotes fair wage among workers. “Our bags are ethically made in a Chinese factory where more than 50% of the workers are women. All of them earn above industry fair wage. For every 50 bags we sell, we provide one additional job,” he said.
Not only that, the Mi Terro Cork Duffle Suitcase also helps with reforestation efforts. “We partner with Eden Reforestation Products to plant 10 trees for every product sold,” Luo explained.
As of today, the company has already planted more than 2,500 trees in areas where deforestation is a huge problem including Nepal, Indonesia and Madagascar.
Luo said that this company is close to his heart because he’s always been a self-avowed environmentalist since childhood. He helped create Mi Terro because he wanted to release a bag that was sustainable yet fashionable at the same time.
He hopes to give a kick in the pants to the fashion industry, which is one of the most polluting industries in the world.