Mushroom-foam is as cheap as Styrofoam, requires no fossil fuel, and creates no plastic pollution, biodegrading in your garden in just a couple of weeks.
Ikea is switching to a new mushroom-based, biodegradable alternative to polystyrene (Styrofoam) packaging for its furniture and home decor.
Known as Mycofoam, the product is made of agricultural waste products like corn or hemp husks, oat hulls or cotton burrs and mushroom spores.
The agricultural waste is molded into the desired shape and then seeded with mushroom spores, which begin to sprout mycelium, the vegetative part of fungi that forms a web of hairlike roots that typically hold soil together, but in this case hold the packaging together.
The mycelium threads spread rapidly throughout the material, digesting and binding it into a durable, shock-resistant foam.
When the foam reaches a desirable consistency, it is heated and dried to stop mycelium growth, so it can be used to cushion and protect everything from glass and ceramics to electronics and furniture.
Once the packaging has served its purpose it can be “tossed in a lake to feed fish” or into your compost pile to fertilize your garden, says the video below. In these moist environments, Mycofoam is completely biodegraded in just a couple of weeks.
Styrofoam on the other hand takes thousands of years to decompose and harms countless animals and other organisms that ingest it in the process.
Created from waste products, the material requires no fossil fuel, making it just as cheap (and probably cheaper to make in the future) as polystyrene.
Hopefully Ikea’s idea will spread and all Styrofoam packaging will be replaced with “mushroom-foam.”
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