by Miryam Muller in , , ,

The Ecocradle

Surely there are many materials, like Plastic and Polystyrene (aka Styrofoam) that can keep our electronics safe, food warm and our drugs cool… But these petroleum based materials also are an ecological disaster.

What if we could just grow our biomaterials and plastic replacements, avoiding all the time- and resource-consuming steps in the polymer creation cycle? Ecovative has figured out how to use renewable materials like mushrooms and other agricultural byproducts that can be returned to the earth at the end of their use and it is expanding its operations by partnering with Sealed Air, the inventor of Bubble Wrap.

The two companies will work together to "accelerate the production, sales, and distribution of Ecovative’s EcoCradle Mushroom Packaging," the companies said in a brief joint press release.

The EcoCradle Mushroom Packaging material is grown in a process in which a fungal network of threadlike cells digests agricultural wastes, such as plant stalks and seed husks. The process binds the cells into a structural material like a self-assembling glue. No water, light, or fertilizer is required for growth, and the used material can be composted in consumers' backyards.

A blend of agricultural byproducts is cleaned and inoculated, or planted, with mycelium. This process does not involve spores. An automated process fills grow tray forms with the mixture. When the material has reached the desired shape and size, its growth is stopped through dehydration and heat treatment.

Hopefully soon, every new iMac, DVR, and Ikea lamp will be shipped in shrooms instead of Styrofoam. Ecovative's co-founder Eben Bayer