MUSHROOMS, A REGENERATIVE SOLUTION

By Posted in - Interior Products on May 26th, 2021
Companies across the world are attempting to heal our Earth by using mushrooms to tackle a multitude of planet-harming industries.
More specifically, the root-structure of mushrooms – known as Mycelium.
 
Mycelium gets combined with other natural substances to produce a range of biodegradable materials for a variety of applications – with the hope to replace Styrofoam packaging, animal meat products, skincare products, apparel and the list goes on.
 
This form of biotechnology follows a regenerative philosophy. It encourages waste streams to regenerate and a cycle of taking from the earth and giving back is established.
 
The applications of the Mycelium composite determine what additives get combined, but Mycelium remains the main ingredient.
For example, a 100% Mycelium structure results in a Mycelium foam, which can be used for plastic-replacing applications like leather gear and high-performance footwear.

It is also acting as a vegan meat alternative, acting as a vehicle that flavours can latch on to.
 
The industry we will be focusing on though is packaging, wherein Styrofoam and polystyrene are major role-players. The unfortunate result is that synthetic plastics not only require a lot of energy in manufacturing – which leads to higher carbon emissions – but it also never fully breaks down in nature.

Recycling it also does not provide a long-term solution – the recycling process requires a lot of energy. The different additives and blends of plastic types results in “down-cycling” instead of recycling – an impure blend material with deteriorated properties and qualities is the result.

Mushroom Packaging:

When used as packaging, this Mycelium composite product aims to replace the toxic and harmful overflow of polystyrene in the environment, especially in the single-use scenarios of packaging.

The main ingredient – the Mycelium – is combined with other natural substances such as hemp or agricultural waste. The Mycelet consists of a network of wire-like cells that act as a natural adhesive.

It does not require light, water, or chemical additives, making its ingredient list short and the product low energy.

How does it work?

Biofabrication is the process of building these materials.

In the case of packaging, the type of packaging you require can be totally customised by having a 3D model generated.

The positive is thermoformed into growth trays, which are then filled with hemp hurds and Mycelium, which grows for 4 days. The grown parts are removed from the tray and grow for another 2 days to create a layer of overgrowth.

After the desired form is achieved, the parts are dried to prevent any future growth.

Benefits:

  • High performance. The fungi composite has similar performance to polystyrene, making it flame-resistant, hydrophobic and scalable – without negatively impacting the environment.
  • Custom designed. The packaging can be customised to suit your product specifications.
  • Home compostable. This product can be added to your compost pile at home or even buried, without emitting any toxins.
  • 100% Biodegradable and renewable
  • Low energy consumption.
  • Low CO2 emissions.

Gold-certified Cradle to Cradle Product:

The regenerative nature of this product makes it compatible with Cradle to Cradle, as waste materials from a process become a valuable raw material in another process.

This is called up-cycling, wherein agricultural waste becomes raw material in Mushroom Packaging, which is in turn broken down into the soil, contributing to new agricultural products.

Cradle to Cradle Certified is a globally recognized measure of safer, more sustainable products made for the circular economy.

For more on this, visit https://www.c2ccertified.org

100% Regenerative and Biodegradable multi-use material

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For more information about Mushroom Packaging, have a look at this local website:

https://www.biofab.co.nz

And the parent company that originated this technology:

https://ecovativedesign.com

Let Black Pine Architects assist you with incorporating this product into your next project.

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