We all speak about the future of packaging and the ways in which businesses are contributing towards ecological conservation by going green. Sustainable packaging is indeed one of the key components of futuristic packaging designs. As part of this green initiative, people are looking at recyclable materials to reduce the impact of plastic products and general Styrofoam packaging. But is it possible for a simple member of the fungi family to actually change the way packaging materials are manufactured?
It may look pretty close to conventional Styrofoam packaging, but this mushroom based material is in fact one of the most eco-friendly packing materials to have ever been conceived. Eben Bayer and Gavin McIntyre (founders of Ecovative Designs) are the brains behind this amazing “cultivated” material which in fact is created like a living fibre at cellular levels. It is made from left over agricultural from farms (such as corn fibres, etc), and this is mixed with mycelium (mushroom tissues) which is cultivated and compacted to form a material that closely resembles Styrofoam, but has much greater environmental friendly features.
How Is It Prepared?
The first step in the process is to collect agricultural waste from local farms. Now this waste material (usually available in the form of shredded fibres) is mixed with healthy mycelium and water, which is then left to “cultivate”. Yes, the mix actually bonds at a cellular level and in order to ensure proper conditions for the mixture, it is added in special bags. Now, the mycelium is not only a cohesive agent which acts as a glue for binding the materials, but it also supports the moulding of the mix into any shape and form. In order to shape the material, it is added to a mould where the mix is packed into the shape. Then it is sent to a drying oven to “kill” the mix and prevent it from cultivating further. Once it comes out of the drying oven, the material is good to go.
Is This Really Beneficial?
Mycelium-Agro waste based packing materials are in fact, nutrients, instead of being pollutants. Once their purpose is fulfilled, you can simply dump them in your garden and help to increase the fertility of the soil. This is also a great way to dispose this material without having to worry about their decomposition. It is 100% natural and has the potential of solving the problems created by the use of plastic products. This natural packing material is strong and durable and can be used to keep products intact while storing them in brown corrugated boxes and customized boxes.