Ecovative, based out of Green Island, New York, manufactures sustainable packaging from agricultural waste and the mycelium (in essence, the root) of mushrooms. Company co-founder Eben Bayer says the sustainable packaging is cost-effective enough to compete with Styrofoam and other synthetic packing materials, "Plastics start with expensive, finite feedstocks derived from oil or natural gas. We're starting with waste from farms."
The company is also looking to expand its designs from sustainable packaging to also include building materials, consumer products, automotive applications, and structural composites. Due to the fact that these products are made from agricultural waste and mushrooms, they are not only sustainable, but are also energy-efficient, non-polluting, and biodegradable.
The sustainable packaging is structurally strong too, since the mycelium is a strong bonding agent. Eben notes, "The strength of our products comes from the mycelium, which consists of millions of tiny fibers. The fibers bond with chitin—a natural plastic produced by mushrooms, similar to what crab shells are made of. Together, these act like a glue, fusing agricultural waste such as seed husks into solid forms. Our materials basically self-assemble; the organism is doing most of the work."
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