Mt. Baker Bio company is producing silicone lunch boxes and reusable lunch bags as a sustainable alternative to plastic.
The company looks to produce 5,000 kits of the ZemePur lunch boxes, aiming to raise $275,000 in 30 days on Kickstarter, a fundraising site.
Western senior Alex Culter, 23, co-founded the company and works as a chemist to produce a product rooted in sustainabilty — a field he’s passionate about, he said.
Fossil fuels are eliminated from the manufacturing process that reduces waste, Cutler said.
Silicon, a sustainable material found in sand, is the second most common element in the earth’s crust. When combined with oxygen, a chemical reaction happens making silicone, Cutler said.
Other food containers are made using harsh chemicals, like those used to make glass, but silicone is more natural, said Mickey Blake, CEO and founder of Mt. Baker Bio.
Mt. Baker Bio has considered how the silicone lunchbox will make an impact in the long run, looking at the life cycle of the product, Cutler said.
“I have a vision now for what I think the world could be in terms of how we design things,” Cutler said.
Blake started Mt. Baker Bio in 2008 because she wanted to create a company built on sustainable practices and rooted in holistic approaches for better manufacturing, she said.
The lunchbox is one small way to give people a sustainable option, Cutler said.
Consumers can choose a product that isn’t made from a threatened resource such as fossil fuels, Cutler said.
Cutler picked up his plastic lunch container, a product made from fossil fuels.
“This is plastic,” he said. “This is not a renewable thing — this is refined dinosaur juice.”
Other co-founders include Max Silver and Western alumnus Reid Jones.
The idea for the silicone lunch boxes became seven months ago. The team knew they liked silicone and brainstormed what they could do with it.
Blake created the company to take a sustainable approach by looking at product development and the impact a product makes, she said.
Blake believes in business industries, profit is the first factor considered rather than impacts on health, she said.
She feels society is trying to fight cancer while the business industry is creating it at the same time by producing products with chemicals found to cause cancer, she said.
Blake was on track to earn her medical Ph.D, but decided to take a break and started working in industrial lab sales and marketing before she finished school.
The break never ended, and for 10 years she worked for a European molecular biology manufacturer company called Bioline.
When she left Bioline, she started Mt. Baker Bio.
The company has its fingers in other projects like water purification. Blake wants to invest in the next big innovators — people like Cutler and Reid who think about what tomorrow will look like, she said.
“If you’re thinking about today, you’re behind,” Blake said.
For $45 on Kickstarter, the package will include a set of silicone food containers, a compostable ice pack and insulated lunch bag. A single silicone food container will be $16.
Mt. Baker Bio submitted the project to Kickstarter Monday, March 3, and will launch on the site no later than Friday, March 7, Blake said.