Mushroom packaging by Ecovative has the potential to give us all the benefits of plastic with none of the detriments. Ecovative has figured out a simple yet ingenious way to keep everything we love about plastic and throw away the adverse health and environmental effects that plastics cause.
Plastics Make it Possible
Could you imagine a world without plastic? This all-purpose petroleum derivative belongs to the category of the modern inventions that have fundamentally changed our lives. Since being synthesized in the late 19th century, plastics have made their way into every facet of modern life (and every landfill), from healthcare to fashion to food. And it’s easy to see why: the fact that plastics are malleable and versatile makes products easy to manufacture; the fact that plastics are lightweight makes for cost effective shipping; the fact that plastics are disposable have made our lives more hygienic, more affordable and just plain easier.
Single Serve Lifestyle
Because traditional plastics are synthesized from petroleum, plastic too is becoming a finite resource as oil reserves dwindle. Ironically, even in a post-petroleum world, humanity will still be up to its eyeballs in plastics: one plastic bag that you use for 10 minutes on your walk home from the grocery store can take centuries to breakdown in a landfill. Furthermore, manufacturing processes for plastics like polystyrene produce HFCs, or hydrofluorocarbons, which are known to damage ozone, and therefore exacerbate climate change.
Whether it’s because oil is decreasing or pollution is increasing, we need a viable and sustainable alternative to plastics.
But fear not! Replacing plastics doesn’t mean renouncing our single serve lifestyle.
Ecovative’s Mushroom Packaging
Ecovative Design is a biomaterials company based in New York specializing in non-plastic packaging made from mushrooms. Yes, fungus. In the video above, CEO Eben Bayer explains that they wanted to create a type of packaging that wouldn’t destroy the environment if it didn’t make it into a trash can. More than creating an Eco-Friendly packaging type, Ecovative has created a litter-Friendly packaging alternative.
Ecovative packaging is a biomaterial made from fungal mycelium (the fibrous part of the fungus) and materials left over from harvesting grain (corn stalks). Not only do it’s organic ingredients make it completely biodegradable, but mushroom packaging also helps create circular economies by reusing waste materials.
Don’t Litter, but it’s Okay if it Happens
Littering is never acceptable because on top of it being harmful to our health, it’s just ugly. If mushroom packaging doesn’t find a trash can, however, it can actually help the environment instead of hurting it. Unlike plastics, mushroom packaging breaks down about 90 days. Instead of leeching known toxins like polystyrene into to groundwater and soil, mushroom packaging turns into compost and enriches soils as it decomposes.
It’s Like Plastic, but Better!
Mushroom packaging has the potential to give us all the benefits of plastic with none of the detriments. Ecovative has figured out a simple yet ingenious way to keep everything we love about plastic and throw away the adverse health and environmental effects that plastics cause.
We’re looking forward to a world filled with mushroom wrappers, and using them to compost, too.