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2013-09-15. How to replace foam and plastic packaging with mushroom experiments.

posted Sep 19, 2013, 10:32 AM by Alan Gould
For GSS Ecosystem Change chapter 7. Excerpt: ..."We're taking local farm waste and mixing it with tissues from mushrooms and growing replacements for plastic foams that are used in protective packaging," explains Gavin McIntyre, co-founder and one of the chief scientists at Ecovative Design, a "revolutionary new biomaterials company" in Green Island.... More traditional Styrofoam packaging is made of polystyrene, an unsustainable petrochemical, and can take up to a million years to biodegrade naturally. One of Ecovative's goals is to develop packaging materials that not only decompose faster and more naturally, but also give back to the ecosystem. They do this by utilizing mycelium, the microscopic root structure that allows mushrooms to grow on trees and spread throughout the forest floor.... Local agricultural waste, such as corn stalks and husks, is cleaned and then mixed with mycelium. The mixture is incubated for about two days before being ground up and packed into molds. After allowing the mycelium to grow and fill out for about three more days, the molds are baked in a low-temperature oven to prevent further growth. They are then removed from the molds and trimmed to fit as packaging pieces for electronics, car parts, and more.... They're currently developing insulation for houses, using the same mushroom root growth structure to create a layer between the interior walls and exterior siding. The mycelium growth between the walls provides insulation, structure, and even an extra layer of protection for homes." The mycelium itself acts as a sort of fire retardant," .... http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/techknow/blog/2013/9/15/how-to-replace-foamandplasticpackagingwithmushroomexperiments.html, Meredith Kile, AlJazeera America.