Plastic is the most egregious offender amongst all the packaging material. This commonly used packaging material, also known as Styrofoam is a piece of white toxic material which is found in pretty much everything from surfboards to coffee cups to table tops and finds its way to the landfills mostly. What a nuisance..ahh! It is just not toxic or harming the environment but also a single cubic foot of this material has the energy of about a litre and a half of petrol yet we would dispose it off as thrash within a few days of use.
Now what ? we do need packaging material. Don’t we?
So an organization called ECOVATIVE after years of effort came up with a biologically compatible packaging material which was strong, sustainable, and comparatively cheaper to produce using..MUSHROOM’s mycelium and not petroleum!!!
Now, mycelium is an amazing material, because it’s a self-assembling material. It actually takes things we would consider waste, things like husks or woody biomass and transforms them into a chitinous polymer. The mycelium acts as a natural glue and by using mycelium as a glue, the agricultural waste can form any custom mold shape, engineered to protect any product just like in the plastic industry.
Ecovative basically used a few steps to develop this awesome product.
Agricultural waste, feedstock was taken and it was put in a tool, physically filling an enclosure of the shape required. Mycelium was grown on and through its surface forming a biocomposite, (MYCOBOND as they like to call it!!) , as the mycelium continued to grow and digest the plant husk and create a complex network around it binding it together, it essentially became a cohesive hold, this living material binded together to form packaging material of all shapes. After having finished growing packaging parts which only takes a couple of days they were heat treated to stop the growth process to ensure that no spores or allergens were produced. These sustainable high performance parts are then safe and ready for shipping.
The product has properties like insulation, fire-resistance, moisture-resistance, vapor-resistance, it can absorb acoustical impacts, and best of all when it gets to the customer, it’s not trash, they can actually put this in their natural ecosystem without any processing, and it’s going to improve the local soil, because it is made of natural materials, and is hence 100 percent compostable in the backyard. So it is a win- win situation !!