At Ecovative’s production facility, agricultural waste particles, like corn stalks, are pasteurised and saturated with water. The ag-waste combines with fungal cells to grow billions of tiny fibres around the waste. The process self-assembles almost any shape in 5-7 days, with about eight miles of mycelium in each cubic inch. Products grow indoors at room temperature, in the dark, without fossil fuel inputs. After growth of a stiff biomaterial, products are dried to kill the organism, much the same way as chopping down a tree renders lumber inactive. The final result is a strong biological composite with a reduced environmental impact, created using far less energy than synthetic processes.
Ecovative’s Cradle to CradleTM Gold Certified materials are biobased, ultra-rapidly renewable, produced in a low energy process, and are home compostable. Today, Ecovative’s Mushroom® Packaging is replacing many thousands of plastic foam packaging parts that are made from finite petrochemicals, often cause pollution, and are economically impractical to recycle in most locations. The raw materials for Mushroom® Packaging are sourced from local farmers, who derive an additional revenue stream by selling their plant stalks and other byproducts. Once Mushroom® Packaging has finished protecting a product, it can be composted, adding nutrients to the soil.
Ecovative’s long-term goal is to become the first bioindustrial age company with a net positive impact on the planet’s ecosystem. A net positive impact requires eliminating the negative environmental impacts of production, growing products that sequester carbon, and a distribution system that restores nutrients back to Earth upon disposal. The careful resolution of these factors helps Ecovative’s technology to resolve critical concerns for waste, energy, and consumer health.
Ecovative is seeking to displace environmentally harmful materials wherever possible. Today, plastic foams like EPS are being replaced for packaging. Soon, Ecovative will be launching Mushroom® Insulation, a replacement for rigid board foams for buildings.
Ecovative has also adapted this Mushroom Material technology to other new uses. Their Myco BoardTM material is able to replace engineered wood materials like MDF with a tree-free and formaldehyde adhesive-free alternative.
We’re entering a new material age: The Mushroom Age.