A company in the USA is getting huge mainstream media attention thanks to its brilliant idea of developing a compostable packaging made from mushrooms. It is not only safer for the environment, but it is cheaper than petroleum-based packaging as well.
Could this be the next big thing in packaging?
Ecovative Design is a US based biomaterials company that actually grows products like packaging and furniture. It also markets “grow-it-yourself” kits. It has developed packaging materials replacing Styrofoam for companies such as Dell, Crate and Barrel and more recently, IKEA.
Packaging made from mushrooms
The company creates the packaging by growing mycelium (fungus roots) around clean agricultural waste such as corn stalks. This process allows the mycelium to feed on and replace the waste as it grows into the shape of its container. The container could be any shape. The finished product is then left to dry, halting the growth. It calls this product Mushroom® Packaging. Currently, the exclusive distributor of the product is Sealed Air Corporation also a US company.
The Benefits of packaging made from mushrooms
Tons of plastic packaging are pouring into the environment every day. Many of these plastics will take hundreds of years to biodegrade. The founders of Ecovative, Eben Bayer and Gavin Mcyintire reference an US Environmental Protection Agency survey of landfills. 20% of USA landfills by volume are expanded foams. Basically a combination of petroleum derivatives and air. If nothing is done, they will remain in these landfills way beyond our lifetime. In sharp contrast, their product will safely blend back into the environment in as little as 6 weeks!
According to the founders, the technology is cheaper and performs better than Styrofoam or plastic packaging. Other benefits include
- Fire retardant
The company’s long-term vision is to replace disposable plastics across industries and across applications.
We are definitely impressed by how Ecovative Design is addressing the elimination of plastic waste, one of the biggest challenges in our industry.
Let’s keep an eye on them!