Eco-friendly mushroom foam packaging

Posted by Imogen Searra on 2 January 2020

Mushroom-based, biodegradable packaging could soon replace polystyrene or styrofoam packaging. Styrofoam packaging is an environmental hazard that continues to contribute to the world’s environmental crisis.

According to Return to Now, mycofoam is made up of corn, hemp husks, mushroom spores, cotton burrs and oat hulls. It requires no fossil fuels for production. Retail giant Ikea has announced it will be switching its styrofoam packaging for mycofoam instead.

The waste is moulded into the required packaging shape and then coated with mushroom spores. These will sprout mycelium, the vegetative part of mushrooms that create a web of thin strand-like roots and holds soil in place.

The threads of mycelium digest and bind the materials together, keeping the packaging in place. The packaging is shock-resistant and durable, allowing it to protect glass, furniture, ceramics and anything that requires packaging.

Once the foam reaches the correct consistency, it is heated and dried to stop further mycelium growth. The packaging can be composted once it is no longer needed.

 

Image: Unsplash






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