Growing a Replacement for Styrofoam
2013-07-30 0:00

From: Organic Connections



Today a unique com­pany called Ecovative has devel­oped a replace­ment for envi­ron­men­tally threat­en­ing polystyrene—known com­monly as Styrofoam—for an ever-widening range of appli­ca­tions. The incred­i­ble part: the mate­r­ial is grown, not man­u­fac­tured, and actu­ally pro­vides nutri­ents to the land when dis­posed of.

A Mixed Blessing

When poly­styrene was invented, it rev­o­lu­tion­ized the pack­ing indus­try. Extremely light­weight, cheap and capa­ble of being pro­duced in end­less forms, Styrofoam meant mate­ri­als that added almost zero weight to pack­ages yet firmly pro­tected con­tents. It has also found uses in food and bev­er­age con­tain­ers, auto­mo­tive noise reduc­tion com­po­nents, and count­less other areas.

The down­side was and is that Styrofoam has become an eye­sore along high­ways, on beaches and in just about any semi­wild space. Even when it is prop­erly dis­posed of in trash recep­ta­cles, Styrofoam is slow to biode­grade and, like its cousin, plas­tic, seems to remain with us endlessly.

A Grown Replacement

The idea for the nat­ural replace­ment of these envi­ron­men­tally aggra­vat­ing mate­ri­als had its inspi­ra­tion, for Ecovative co-founder Eben Bayer, all the way back in his boy­hood. “I grew up on a fam­ily farm in rural Vermont, where I spent 17 years with hands-on learn­ing about agri­cul­ture,” Bayer told Organic Connections. “One of my respon­si­bil­i­ties grow­ing up was to shovel wood­chips into the gasi­fier that pro­duced maple syrup on our farms. Sometimes there would be clumps stuck together by lit­tle white strands. I later learned that these tena­cious fibers were mycelium—the veg­e­ta­tive growth stage (kind of like the roots) of fungi. The mycelium was self-assembling into a nat­ural glue.”

Bayer never for­got his obser­va­tion. “After farm-life train­ing, I went to RPI [Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute] and got a degree in mechan­i­cal engi­neer­ing and design and inno­va­tion,” Bayer con­tin­ued. “It was the com­bi­na­tion of these two influ­ences that led to the spark that grew into Ecovative.

[...]

Read the full article at: organicconnectmag.com





Related Articles
Know Your Mushrooms
Oregon’s monster mushroom is world’s biggest living thing
Paul Stamets: 6 ways mushrooms can save the world
Lost Glow-in-the-Dark "Ghost Mushrooms" Rediscovered
Magic Mushrooms: Can Fungi Help Clean Up Pollution?
Ecovative’s Mushroom Tiny House
Hagfish Slime Could Become Future Eco-Friendly Clothes
Brilliant! How plastic bottles can lighten up the darkness


Latest News from our Front Page

Facebook completes first drone flight above UK, Mark Zuckerberg confirms
2015-03-28 3:15
Solar powered drones which provide internet access to rural and remote areas have been trialled in UK for first time by Facebook. They “have a wingspan greater than a Boeing 737 but will weigh less than a car”, according to the social network's chief Mark Zuckerberg. The drones, developed by Somerset-based company Ascenta which Facebook bought last March, will beam down laser-guided ...
300 Young English Girls (and a few Boys) Groomed and Assaulted by Oxfordshire "Gangs," Report Finds
2015-03-28 2:04
Editor's note: This story is a few days old now but the echoes of Rotherham just keeps coming. A few weeks ago there was Halifax, now Britain proudly can add Oxfordshire to their line up of diversity success stories. Below is the story from the telegraph: Serious case review finds failings by police and social services as it identifies hundreds of victims A ...
British POW describes the horror of the bombing of Dresden
2015-03-28 0:33
Partial Transcript of Interview with Victor Gregg, WW2 British solder and POW: Interviewer: "Tell us how it was that you were in Dresden at that time." Victor Gregg: "It was evil....thousands of firebombs dropping all over the place, heat, fire, people screaming, people burning, people alight. After about half an hour it started developing into something that was really bad....It was ...
Rape of 285,000 German Women at the End of WWII Trigger Damage Control by Mainstream Media
2015-03-27 20:25
Is Exposing Allied War Crimes an honorable act? No, it’s slandering heroes according to Daily Mail A recent article from the Daily Mail that pretends to look at the post WWII crimes and rapes of the Allies against the German people is actually damage control. It’s really an attempt to divert away from the true horrors that was visited upon Germany ...
Minister of Migration attacked by asylum seeker with fire extinguisher
2015-03-27 2:12
Sweden’s Minister of Justice & Migration also known as Morgan “only 1%” Johansson, has been attacked with a fire extinguisher when he visited an asylum home for future Swedes. Regional newspaper, Kristiandstadsbladet reported that a man who had been living at the home for a couple of weeks grabbed a fire extinguisher and sprayed foam all over the minister who didn’t ...
More News »