Mycology – the science of mushrooms. After animals and plants, fungi are the third class of living beings and are impressively versatile. They help support cheese production, are a delicious addition to cooking, have healing (and intoxicating) properties and can even be surfed upon. Wait a minute...surf?
It has in fact been suggested for some time that we are living in the ''age of mushrooms''. In 2009, artist Philip Ross developed a method that made it possible to use mushrooms as construction materials. What began as an art project could lead to a solution to plastic's impact on the environment.
Leading the charge on another fungal front is Ecovative. We introduced the company Ecovative last year in our article about the Launch 2013 Challenge, a programme to identify and support visionaries whose world-class ideas, technologies or programs are set to make a tangible impact on the world’s toughest sustainable issues. Back then, Ecovative had been selected as one of 10 eco-friendly fabric, material and textile projects to go into further development as part of the challenge.
The brainchild of Eben Bayer and Gavin McIntyre, Ecovative uses mycelium (the mass of branched, tubular filaments of fungi) and agricultural waste to create solid, biodegradable containers that present a viable, more sustainable alternative to conventional plastic tubs. The team has racked up numerous awards since the company was launched in 2007 and sell their containers to Fortune 500 companies like Dell.
The video below demonstrates how mycelium and agricultural waste can be used to build a tiny house:
Wine bottle packaging (pictured above) and surfboards count among the products Ecovative offers. If you think about the fact that traditional plastic can take up to 10,000 years to degrade and are clogging up our oceans, waterways and streets then it becomes painfully clear that we are in need of a better alternative. Here's to mushrooms!
This article was translated in part from the original on our German site.