An Alternative to Plastic: Mushroom Packaging

Imagine that a  package has arrived. The package has a new pair of shoes, but as it is opened it has an interesting and strange protective plastic. But that is not plastic. That is a mushroom. Yes, you read that right. A mushroom. This special mushroom is safer for the environment than plastic.

Americans have been wasting, according to scientists, about 8.3 billion tons of trash since the 1950s. Plastic has affected many environments. This includes the oceans and forests and animals as well. Plastic has trapped animals and has killed and caused extinction levels to rise. Plastic is not biodegradable and not friendly for the environment. 

But, MycoComposite, under the company Ecovate, is creating a better way to reduce plastic levels. Many Americans buy clothes, shoes, equipment, etc. online. A lot of plastic is in those packages. MycoCompostie wants to start small and will create mushroom ‘plastic’ packaging. It will replace any plastic used in packaging. 

The special mushroom is mycelium. Mycelium is a vegetative part of the fungi or fungus. It has fine white filaments. The filaments are strong and are able to bend and wound together. The fungi is able to bind biomass together causing an easier way to connect the fungi together and create a stronger bind.  The fungi is great for packaging because it is biodegradable and able to bind well.

The mycelium is not only biodegradable, but it also is able to be grown in less than nine days and is flame resistant. The fungi is able to grow in a mold without out growing the mold, making it easier to grow and take care of. 

The company Ecovate has many other ideas besides biodegradable packages. The company wants to create alternative animal-free leather and alternative meat. Below is the link to the website.