We are so excited for another round of our Green Thinkers. Joining us today? Moritz, founder and CEO of Mitte. Discover what the startup that makes our tap water better wants to change in the world and why Moritz thinks angry teenagers are awesome.
100 million disposable bottles are produced every minute. Most of them? Don't get recycled and end up in the ocean, breaking down into microplastics. A global problem! The Berlin-based start-up Mitte has taken on this issue. And mastered two current challenges at once. Because for people who want to avoid bottled water, pure tap water is not a safe or healthy alternative in many regions of the world. It runs through old pipes and contains residues of chemicals, medicines and other substances. Mitte has developed a system that turns tap water into filtered, mineralized water. Let's talk to the mind behind this great idea....
Hi – who are you?
I am Moritz Waldstein, founder and CEO of Mitte
What did you have for breakfast today?
Sourdough bread & honey. I tried the new honey that my mother harvested and sent to me.
Share something that makes you happy at the moment…
Having the feeling that Mitte is reaching the market, knowing that all team members are doing their very best to make our launch exceptional.
And on a personal note: taking a long bike tour in sunny fall weather.
What does a normal working day look like in your world?
At the moment, I try to have about half of my days remote and half in the office. I try to use the time in the office for meetings and creative thinking, home for check-in calls or deep thinking.
Corona has changed the way we work at Mitte quite significantly. Some of these aspects are here to stay such as the fact that we will remain a hybrid work company.
I believe that we can be our best if we adapt to the different work challenges. Sometimes it’s important to spend a day at home in deep thinking, sometimes it’s important to meet with the team for creative brainstorming. Through all of this I find it difficult to keep up a culture and sense of connectedness, but I am learning how to best engage in this new world.
I personally (and I know I am not alone here) find it even more difficult to draw a line between work and end of work. Where does the private begin and where does work start? This is not a new challenge as a start-up founder, but seems to be exacerbated due to the new work set-up.
Why do you think your company / idea is important for the environment?
We humans currently produce 580 billion bottles p.a. That’s 1 million bottles per minute. The big bottled water companies are the largest producers of single use plastics globally.
Plastics do have a terrible impact on our environment along its entire life cycle.
It’s not just a problem for the environment, but also our health.
It takes a lot of CO2 to produce a plastic bottle. To illustrate how much: you can imagine that 250 ml of a liter bottle is filled with oil, to be able to produce and distribute it
Only 7% of bottles are recycled globally, most end up in landfills or, even worse, find their way into the ocean. At least 8 Million tons of plastic annually are discarded in the sea
Microplastics do not just destroy sea life and are found in basically any fish we eat, but also can now already be found in placentas of newborn babies
Which trend(s) in sustainability and green tech are you feeling positive and hopeful about?
I do think that the new generation Z is the most powerful and impactful force. They make me hopeful. They are angry and rightfully so, but they are also constructive and solution oriented. They are changing the way they engage with the world and its resources and maybe most importantly they are making sustainability a “cool” thing. Something to be proud of, to share & talk about.
What green life hack have you learned recently that you're curious to share?
I have given up eating meat around 2,5 years ago for environmental reasons.
I think eating sustainably grown meat is totally fine, it’s just the pure amount that has become normal is destroying our planet & our health. I do not want to make it too much of a moral category, but eating industrially produced meat does not seem to do any good for anyone.
Let's say we give you a little bit of our KALEA compost. Which plants do you want to share some compost joy with?
In summer I love growing tomatoes and herbs. Also, my lemon tree might enjoy some compost.
How do you connect with nature? Where do you feel most at home?
Nature has always been important to me. I grew up on a farm until we moved to the city. I have always spent most of my time outside.
At the moment, I most enjoy nature on long walks with my partner in the Uckermark, or taking my road bike for a spin. I am originally from Austria and do love the mountains, but home is more a concept than a place for me.
If you had one minute to talk to the Earth, what would you say to her?
Hah! That's difficult :)
I think I would encourage her to show the effects of negative human activity even more powerfully and more often (but ideally sparing human life).
We thank you for your time and the lovely conversation!