2010 Social Innovation Fellow Ryan Smith

Inevitably, 2010 Social Innovation Fellow Ryan Smith opened his Friday presentation with a poop joke.

“It was irresistible,” he said of the “Poop!Tech” logo on the screen behind him. Natch. Smith, after all, is co-founder and chief technical officer of Micromidas, Inc., a biotech company that uses an innovative microbial process to convert raw sewage into high quality disposable plastics.

The plastics made by Micromidas’ sewage-eating bacteria are completely bio-degradable and the implications of the technology are obvious. A non-petroleum plastic made from organic waste that completely degrades in six months to a year? What’s not to love?

Ryan Smith at PopTech 2010

“It’s a really elegant solution,” Smith said. “It’s not just what we’re making but how we’re making it. The extractive economy we’ve relied on for the last 100 years is not sustainable. It’s time to find better solutions and we hope we’re one of them.”

(Photo credit: Kris Krüg)


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