The Kid Should See This

Mycelium packaging, a biodegradable alternative to styrofoam

Styrofoam makes up 25% of our landfills in the U.S. That is insane. We may only use it for a day or a week to ship a package, but it stays in our environment for thousands of years. I think I’ve come up with an alternative…

In this animation from Joe’s Big Idea, mechanical engineer and Evocative Design co-founder Eben Bayer tells the story of how a fungus he saw on his family farm eventually inspired the idea of mycelium packaging. Mycelia are white, root-like threads of fungus that branch and weave as they grow and sprout mushrooms. From Fast Company:

Ecovative first launched a decade ago by making packaging, now used by Dell and Ikea, that injects farm waste products with mushroom spawn inside a mold. Days later, the mycelium completes the growth of the product, which can be used as a compostable alternative to Styrofoam. The same process can also be used to grow building materials…

The process involves growing trays of mycelia, along with a nutritious substrate, in long walk-in tunnels. By controlling temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide, airflow, and other factors, it’s possible to control the geometry, density, size, and shape of the material.

ecovative design - mycelia
Learn more about mycelium and Bayer’s work in these two videos: Biodegradable mushroom packaging from Ecovative Designs and Fungus: The Plastic of the Future.

Then watch The Fungi in Your Future and more videos about biomimicry, innovation, fungi, and sustainability.

🌈 Related videos

Jiggling mushrooms travel on machines at the processing factory

Rion Nakaya

What is the fastest accelerator on the planet? – Invisible Worlds

Rion Nakaya

Edible milk-based packaging, an alternative to plastic

Rion Nakaya

The Fungarium and Millennium Seed Bank Partnership at Kew

Rion Nakaya

Bayuble: Water-soluble fruit stickers

Rion Nakaya

The Fungi in Your Future: Mushroom leather, furniture, and more

Rion Nakaya

Fungus: The Plastic of the Future

Rion Nakaya

Fungi Matter, an animation for Kew

Rion Nakaya

Collecting some 350 fungi specimens in the Ecuadorian Andes

Rion Nakaya

 
Browse the TKSST Video Collections

Get 7 smart videos delivered every week.

 

Subscribe