Post B: Mushroom Packaging

Plastic is a material that is harmful to both our body and the environment. They are made of crude oil, which causes it to be non-renewable thus making it a major problem to our environment due to the fact that we are so dependent on it. The scary thing about plastic is its inability to degrade, as they will turn into a form of ‘dust’, a very small particle of plastic that is often found in our environment, forest, lakes, rivers and oceans. (The Flaming Vegan 2012) These create a ‘plastic soup’ area in the Pacific Ocean twice the size of America.

Other than China, Indonesia is the next biggest contributor to plastic ocean waste (Lee 2015). Being one of the most populous countries in the world, they generated 3.22 million tons of plastic waste in 2010, about 10% of the world total (Lee 2015). Ade Palguna Ruteka, head of the environment ministry’s Bureau of Planning and International Cooperation says that more people are aware of the excess waste and Indonesia are unsettled by this revelation (Lee 2015)

This brings me to my main topic: what can we do to help countries like Indonesia and China. I chanced about a TED talk by Eben Bayer who is a founder of Ecovative Design. (TED n.d) He and his team created a new form of packaging made by none other than mushroom, which is an interesting and a lot more environmental friendly alternative to harmful material, like plastic and polystyrenes. This mushroom packaging uses mushroom fiber and agriculture waste (cotton seed, wood fiber and buckwheat hulls) that allows them to use 98 percent less energy than Styrofoam.

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Mushroom Packaging should be the future

Ecovative’s mushroom packaging has already been used in big companies such as Steelcase (Fortune 500). They received fundings of $180,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and gain great supports from government agencies such as USDA Agricultural Research Service and New York State Energy Research. (Greenbiz 2010) This allows them to keep growing, from being a university project into having 60 workers in their company (Nearing 2012). The good news is there are strong demands from companies in Asia who wants to ship Mushroom packaging into Asia and I believe they will be the next generation of packaging that will curb all environmental challenges which will helps countries like Indonesia to greatly reduce their ocean waste (Ecovative 2015).

-Dehong Tay, 11620717

  1. Nearing 2012, Ecovative Keep Growing, viewed 23 April 2015<http://www.timesunion.com/business/article/Ecovative-keeps-growing-3608741.php#photo-3026790&gt;
  2.  GreenBiz 2010, Mushroom Based Packaging Uses 98% Less Energy than Styrofoam, viewed 23 April 2015<http://www.greenbiz.com/news/2010/08/10/mushroom-based-packaging-98-percent-less-energy-styrofoam&gt;
  3.  Ecovative 2015, Mushroom Packaging, viewed 23 April 2015<http://www.ecovativedesign.com/products-and-applications/packaging/&gt;
  4.  Flaming Vegan 2012, Why is Plastic So Harmful to the Environment, viewed 23 April 2015<http://www.theflamingvegan.com/view-post/Why-is-Plastic-so-Harmful-to-the-Environment&gt;
  5.  Bayer, E n.d, Sustainability by Design, TED, viewed 23 April 2015<https://www.ted.com/playlists/28/sustainability_by_design&gt;
  6.  Lee R 2015, Which Countries Create the Most Ocean Thrash, viewed 23 April 2015<http://www.wsj.com/articles/which-countries-create-the-most-ocean-trash-1423767676&gt;
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3 thoughts on “Post B: Mushroom Packaging

  1. It’s very interesting and surprising knowing that mushroom could be made into packagings. Hopefully the method could be adapted and popularised in most countries, it would be a great alternative way to reduce plastic use in daily life.

  2. I was completely unaware that Indonesia was the second largest contributor to plastic ocean waste! However, in regards to the ‘mushroom packaging’ I wonder how applicable it would be for third world countries. With such little resources is there the potential and the generosity of larger, more financially able countries to get the ball rolling in plastic waste management?

  3. This is great to see such meaningful innovation in an area that can be applied not only in the field of design, but across a wider scale. It is now important for large scale companies to embrace this shift to ecological packaging, which may be a challenge but one that needs to be addressed!

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