Image via Amazon.com: Vintage fridge photoshoot
Did you know that 116 million tons of dairy products are wasted globally, with about half lost before even reaching the store? Since Milk is known for its short shelf life, it is regularly thrown out. However, transforming spoiled milk into clothing is one possibility that no one could have imagined.
The LA-based startup, Mi Terro, did just that by using their very own patented biotechnology to actively re-engineer parts of food waste into sustainable fibers, creating the very first milk-made t-shirt, who would have known? Mi Terro’s technology is not only exclusively being used in creating milk fibers; they also have dabbled in creating 100% plant-based packaging films. Proving that Mi Terro’s innovation could steadily replace plastic use in the fashion, packaging, and textile industry.
1. Acquiring Supply of Spoiled Milk
Mi Terro uses spoiled milk from dairy farms to procure their milk fabric. The LA-based company has partnered with some of the leading dairy companies in the world that agreed to let Mi Terro use the fiber and license the technology, and are still open to welcoming companies who are looking to adopt sustainable business practices.
2. Fermenting the Milk
Using a special fermentation process that drains all of the fat and water, the spoiled milk is then ready for the “Pro-Act” stage.
3. Pro-Act (Protein Activation)
Using their self-developed innovation, ‘Protein Activation’ and ‘Self-Assembly Purification’ to extract and purify the casein protein from the spoiled milk bacteria, which is used as the main base of their Limitless Milk Tee. Not to mention that this process is said to use 60% less water than a normal cotton shirt
4. Dynamic Flow Shear Spinning
The last step is to spin the casein protein into fibers that form into a yarn. After, the milk yarn is mixed with Micromodal, another natural fiber made from beechwood. (Beechwood leaves uses about 20% less water than cotton manufacturing)
Image via MiTerro on Instagram
Now, let’s talk about the product itself, the Limitless Milk Tee. What makes it so innovative and different from a normal shirt? Aside from it being made out of milk, does it have any other benefits to it?
The answer is YES! The upcycled milk shirt that is made out of supple fibers have additional properties with beneficial features:
- Odor Proof: Milk creates micro-pockets and traps the odor.
- Anti-Bacterial: Milk is a known disinfectant due to its antimicrobial properties.
- Breathable & Temperature Regulating: Additionally, the micro-pockets make it easy for air to flow through the shirt, giving it a cool feeling when worn. Milk also has UV-blocking properties that maintain the shirt’s brightness in the long run.
- Wrinkle-Resistant: The milk shirts are 3 times softer than cotton with their silk-like texture. This makes it both form-fitting and wrinkle-resistant.
Aside from Mi Terro’s innovative approach to replacing plastic in several industries, they have also committed to wholly adopting their global mission and statement —“The pursuit of profit should also advance the good of society.”— actively in their business practice. They have even committed to planting 15 trees for every purchase in partnership with Eden Reforestation Projects. Overall, one of their established company goals is to create a new form of circular economy based on agricultural waste that is a current issue in this contemporary society.
It takes 2700 liters of water to create one single cotton shirt, providing a different perspective on the ever-growing problem of water consumption within the textile industry which Mi Terro has tackled in their re-engineering process. Nevertheless, consumers also have a role to play in terms of water consumption during washing. The company encourages consumers to practice laundry sustainability on their products, by washing half as often to save water and reduce the chemicals from detergents to go through your water system.
Image via MiTerro on Instagram
Mi Terro takes a step further towards the future in replacing plastic with agricultural waste through innovation and technology. As pioneers of sustainable technology, they could be leading new and existing businesses to follow suit in their goal to reduce world consumption. This can be seen through other innovative companies that have created alternative fibers such as orange fibers, pineapple leather, banana fabric, and a few more.