Are mushrooms the new plastic ?  

Posted by Big Gav in , , , ,

Mycellium has almost mystical significance to some greens, but as Eben Bayer of ecovative design notes in this TED Talk, it can also be used to make a biodegradable packaging material called "mycobond" from a variety of different types of waste biomass, thus eliminating the need to make materials like styrofoam from fossil fuel inputs - Eben Bayer: Are mushrooms the new plastic ?.

Product designer Eben Bayer reveals his recipe for a new, fungus-based packaging material that protects fragile stuff like furniture, plasma screens -- and the environment.

Eben Bayer is co-inventor of MycoBond, an organic (really -- it's based on mycelium, a living, growing organism) adhesive that turns agri-waste into a foam-like material for packaging and insulation.



I'm not sure if this is truly a form of bioplastic, but I'm going to count it as a variety of green chemistry. Apparently Dell is going to use this in some of their packaging, so it is gaining some traction already.



You can view the growth process in this video - and unlike most plastics used in packaging, it is fire resistant.

4 comments

OK, I've got a question that has always puzzled me. It's all fine and good that we have alternatives to items made from oil - but aren't they made from oil byproducts after we've sucked out gas, heating fuel and other 'necessary' oil products? What happens to the oil byproducts that are no longer used - how are they safely disposed of?

Ummm - I don't really understand the question (especially not in relation to the topic of this post, which doesn't use any sort of fossil fuel by-product).

When we eventually stop using oil etc, we won't be extracting it and thus here won't be any by-products to dispose of.

Have I misunderstood the question ?

Well, the article did state "eliminating the need to make materials like styrofoam from fossil fuel inputs". It was a general question as to what happens to 'fossil fuel inputs' once they are replaced with things such as this bio product.

Although more article-related - is it a good idea to use my food for things like this. Will mushrooms be $10 a pack because they're all needed to cushion flat screen TVs. :)

As I understand it, most plastics are made using natural gas and petroleum, not from by-products.

http://pubs.acs.org/cen/whatstuff/stuff/8238plasticbags.html

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