Is mushroom packaging going to be the next trend for socially responsible companies? As we are in need to waste less in this maximalist society, product design needs to think about minimalist inputs, using local materials, and giving the product a second life. Mushroom packaging seems to do all this.
Mushroom materials can be an alternative to chemically intensive plastic foam. With essentially two ingredients, mycelium from mushrooms and agricultural byproducts, this material produces less waste than conventional manufacturing of plastics.
The mycelium are root like structures that act as glue and branch out around the agricultural waste to form a solid mass. The mushrooms can be grown in a couple of days and are naturally fire resistant. This packaging can be composted. It can even be broken up and placed right into the soil around your plants. This minimalist process means fewer raw materials, less energy use, and less pollution.
Ecovative, the company behind the fungi concept is dedicated to using local agriculture waste to help support the local economy. Corn stalks are used here in the U.S., and as Ecovative facilities launch globally, they will be using local materials in Europe such as rice and wheat straw.
We are using our natural resources faster than we can regenerate them. We need to shift to a new self-sustaining, regenerative economy that mimics nature to help us get out of this ecological debt. Companies like Dell, Crate and Barrel, and Puma are catching on to this simplistic design and are using this regenerative material, as they try to phase out some of their conventional packaging materials.
Ecovative is also in the developmental stage to produce a formaldehyde-free, Myco Board to be used in place of engineered wood, such as fiber board and particle board. No trees used here.They are also creating Myco Foam for thermal and acoustic insulation in car manufacturing and home structures.
And so the Tiny House was born. Launched last fall, this prototype was used to demonstrate how the Myco Foam literally grows inside the walls and forms an airtight seal. Now this mushroom insulation is available to consumers. You can preorder the kit and grow your own Tiny Mushroom House at Ecovativedesign.com!