Mushrooms are fun to go foraging for and they are super nutritious as well as delicious. Recent studies have even shown that it is mushrooms, or fungi, that helped create life as we know it. Not only did mushrooms facilitate the creation of life itself, but they might be the key ingredient in saving it. Ikea is creating biodegradable packaging to replace styrofoam and this could be huge!
“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.” – Return To Now
Known as Mycofoam, this new product could revolutionize the way we recycle agricultural waste while creating a product that replaces single-use polystyrene. The reason we want to move away from products such as polystyrene isn’t just the environmental impact, which is detrimental since it doesn’t decomposes and it requires fossil fuels to create. Styrofoam also contains toxic chemicals that are released when hot food or beverages heat it up.
Some places, like New York City, have already banned the use of styrofoam because it is dangerous to consumers as well as the planet. More cities around the world are considering the ban, however they are struggling with finding a replacement for styrofoam which happens to be cheap to make and light-weight for easy transport.
Mycofoam could be the answer! It is made from agricultural waste such as corn and hemp husks, oat hulls and cotton burrs mixed in with mushroom spores. First, they mold the agricultural waste into whatever shape is needed. Then they seed mushroom spores which sprout mycelium and form webs of hairlike roots. These roots normally hold soil together, but in this case they hold the packaging together. – Return To Now
The mushrooms grow until the packaging has the desired consistency at which point it is heated, then dried to stop the mushrooms from growing further. This Mycofoam can be used to protect the same materials that we use styrofoam for, including glass, ceramics, furniture and electronics. The biggest difference is, after using it, you can throw the Mycofoam into your compost where it will be gone within 30 days.
Ikea has been known for its green initiative and keeps surprising us with these new innovations that will help protect our planet. Kudos to Ikea; let’s hope that more companies follow suit!