By Beth Buczynski
A New York company called Ecovative Design has created a compostable alternative to compete with the expanded polystyrene industry without ecological or economic compromises.
Polystyrene (aka Styrofoam) is a light-weight material, made of mostly air, that has very good insulation properties and is used in all types of products, including packaging materials. Unfortunately, polystyrene is made with petroleum, a non-sustainable and heavily polluting resource.
From the Ecovative website:
"EcoCradle™ packaging is literally grown, not manufactured. We use a growing organism to transform agricultural byproducts like cotton seed hulls and buck wheat hulls into a beautiful protective package. Our patented process is inspired by the efficiency of nature, and uses a filamentous fungi (mushroom roots) to bond this packaging into almost any shape."
This packaging alternative is produced without petroleum or light, requires no significant heat, is non-allergenic, and is less expensive to produce than foam products.
Check out this video about how the company hopes to stop global warming by growing styrofoam with fungi!