135: Top 20 Countdown

Top 20 Countdown: Week 15

Welcome to Innovation City—powered by Venture Cafe—where Tyler Kelley and Michael Johnson, Co-Founders of SLAM! Agency, interview innovators, creators, and disruptors to discover how business is changing in the modern world.

Created and produced by SLAM! Agency in cooperation with Venture Cafe St. Louis and Venture Cafe Miami, Innovation City gives you an inside look at how rapidly business and culture are changing thanks to increasing diversity and inclusion, heightened creativity, and a stronger and better-connected business community. Venture Cafe is the largest combined gathering of entrepreneurs and innovators anywhere in the world. Events are held every Thursday in St. Louis, Miami, and other leading innovation cities around the globe.

Today’s episode is the last of several highlight shows where we took a look back at our top 20 favorite interviews and conversations of all time. Our last featured guest of this series is Anastasia Mikhalochkina, Founder at Lean Orb. Anastasia is an advocate for sustainability in South Florida. Lean Orb offers food service packaging made from plant-based materials, with a goal of ultimately replacing plastic and styrofoam with greener, more sustainable options.

Some key points from Anastasia at Lean Orb:

  • Focusing on restaurants, hotels, food groups, and festivals
  • Thinking beyond the dollar sign, to consumer education
  • Replacing disposable products with compostable products
  • 80% of plastic ends up in the ocean
  • The problem of single-use plastic and how it winds up back on our plates
  • The amount of plastic we accidentally consume each year as a result of plastic waste being eaten by marine life
  • Circular economies
  • The U.S.’s broken recycling system; we don’t have a proper recycling infrastructure
  • China is no longer buying our recycling waste
  • Natural fibers that can effectively replace single-use plastic
  • The ethical responsibilities to develop better solutions
  • Building products from agricultural waste; creating pulp from wheat straw or sugar cane
  • Experimenting with fungus as an alternative to styrofoam
  • Being inspired by Burning Man’s “No trace left behind” principle, and being shocked at the amount of waste she was personally accountable for over the course of the week-long festival
  • Moving toward a zero-waste lifestyle
  • Listen or watch Anastasia’s full episode here