By Katy Rank Lev, MNN
Your days of picking packing peanuts out of the carpet could be numbered. According to e!ScienceNews, a product called Mycobond is sweeping the shipping industry. The main ingredients? Inedible agricultural waste and mushroom roots. According to the article, the fungus-based material takes “just one-eighth the energy and one-10th the carbon dioxide of traditional foam packing material.” And the best part? You can add these shipping supplies to the compost bin once your package arrives safe and sound.
A New York-based company, Ecovative Designs, is producing the new packing technology. Founders Gavin McIntyre and Even Bayer emphasize that they don’t “manufacture” their materials — they grow them. According to the article, the product is not dependent on petroleum and so will have a much more stable supply cost. The founders received a National Science Foundation grant to hone their sterilization process (necessary to get their mushroom roots growing free from “competing” fungi).
According to the article, the two currently are exploring cinnamon-bark oil, thyme oil, oregano oil and lemongrass oil to help Mycobond grow in the open air. The article quotes McIntyre, who says the lab-like sterilization room “simply emulates nature,” and “uses compounds that plants have evolved over centuries to inhibit microbial growth.”