Goodbye Styrofoam, Hello,..mushrooms?

Courtesy of Niklas Pivic

What can you cook with and also use as packaging? Surprisingly, it’s mushrooms.

Autor*in Jo Wilkinson, 10.21.14

What can you cook with and also use as packaging? Surprisingly, it’s mushrooms.

Nowadays mushroom spores are an innovative means of producing sustainable packing materials. They offer a biodegradable and recyclable alternative to polystyrene. Industries would inevitably find them more appealing because they are inexpensive to produce, flame retardant, and have superior flexibility and durability. The interlocking roots of mushrooms are basically nature’s Velcro.

So how is this material made? Old substrate which comes from mushroom farms forms the packing sponge’s shape. That piece goes on a mould. Then producers inject the mould with mushroom spawn and the spawn begin to grow and voila, a sturdy material to transport fragile goods but natural enough to bite into.

A number of Fortune 500 and even smaller companies support this sustainable option. Crate and Barrel phased out petroleum-based packaging peanuts and most foam packing. Now delicate glass products arrive to customers in mushroom packaging. Dell also now ships its products in mushroom mycelium package cushions. Ecovative, a New York-based company even makes a plastic substitute from mushrooms.

From packaging materials to “faux plastic,” mushrooms derived products are an example of the meeting point between technology and nature, and how that junction benefits both.

Excuse Me! There’s Some Ocean in My Plastic

When renowned marine ecologist Andres Cozar Cabañas, who teaches at the University of Cadiz in Spain, and a team of researchers completed the first ever map of ocean trash, they noticed that there was less plastic than expected on the surface of oceans world over and began to dig deeper into the issue.

Magic Mushrooms – Are Fungi the New Plastic?

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