Evocative, a US biomaterials company, is making packaging out of mushrooms. This alternative comes from mycelium, a fungus-based mass of branched fibers, that is, in effect, the root structure of mushrooms. This new packaging material causes no harm to the environment and it will help replace Styrofoam, thus reducing solid waste by as much as thirty percent. Styrofoam is polystyrene that takes thousands of years to decompose. Mycelium packaging can be disposed of simply by throwing it in the soil (for example, in your garden) where it will biodegrade naturally and completely within 30-90 days.
Another great thing about mycelium is that you can grow it into a mold that exactly fits the package and product to be shaped.
The furniture retail store IKEA plans to use this eco-friendly replacement for polystyrene. IKEA wants to have a positive impact on people and the planet, which includes taking a lead in turning waste into resources, developing reverse material flows for waste products, and ensuring key parts of their packing and shipping materials can be easily recycled.
“This Company is Making Packaging Out of Mushrooms,” Huffington Post, March 25, 2016, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-future-of-packaging-is-mushrooms_us_56f54c80e4b0143a9b47fc12
Emily Gosden, “Ikea Plans Mushroom-Based Packaging as Eco-friendly Replacement for Polystyrene”, The Telegraph, February 24, 2016, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/businessandecology/recycling/12172439/Ikea-plans-mushroom-based-packaging-as-eco-friendly-replacement-for-polystyrene.html
Student Researcher: Lisa Paule (San Francisco State University)
Faculty Evaluator: Kenneth Burrows (San Francisco State University)