Plastic is amazing at doing so many things—except going away. As the planet increasingly swims in humanity’s plastic garbage (nearly none of which gets recycled and virtually all of which will last for centuries), Lori Goff is betting that biotech will be part of the solution to creating functional plastic alternatives that are so biodegradable you can eat them.
As you’ll hear, Lori is using the waste water from beer brewery waste, subjecting it to a specific type of fermentation, and then creating an alternative to plastic wrappers. Her company has been personally bootstrapped until recently, when she started winning governmental grants in the EU. Lori is already making her wrappers, made of a material she calls Unplastic, and her goal is to start selling them to companies as an alternative to their plastic wrappers in 2020. While wrappers are the low-hanging fruit, her company Outlander Materials has its eyes on other applications as well.
This is just one more way that when science, technology, and commerce merge to solve a serious social problem, in this case plastic waste, business innovators like Lori Goff can be an enormous force for good.
Mentioned in this episode
- The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking
- The World in a Grain of Sand
- News coverage about Outlander Materials
Ideas for new companies Lori says she hopes you’ll start: