Published 10 years ago.
About a 3 minute read.
In a global economy infamous for consumer consumption of “things,” Ecovative delivers environmentally responsible solutions with “win-win-win” materials. These materials are a win for our planet, for people and for Ecovative's profit. To achieve these universal benefits, instead of accepting the first, the fastest or the easiest option for production, our approach is to start from scratch and ask how nature accomplishes a task.
At Ecovative, we asked, “How does nature make plastic-like materials?” We take our inspiration for materials production from plants such as ironwood trees, animals with armored shellssuch as lobsters, and especially from a kingdom of biology that hasn’t thoroughly been explored for materials: fungi. We’re using fungal mycelium to digest farm waste such as corn stalks and grow amazing materials that today are replacing EPS (commonly called styrofoam) packaging. The result: We’re adapting millions of years of fungal evolution to literally grow materials that can compete with petrochemical-based plastics.
We’re not looking for quick fixes or incremental improvements; we're inventing radical replacements for environmentally harmful plastics. While some options pretend to solve the plastic problem with 10% reductions in materials or by swapping petrochemicals for lower performing, albeit natural, materials that affect our food supply, Ecovative takes a totally different approach.
We use mycelium (mushroom “roots”) to bond together agricultural waste particles such as seed husks or plant stalks. The natural growing process happens indoors, in the dark, in less than a week. After growth and before distribution, the resulting Mushroom® Material is dried to stop the growth.
Our first product is called Restore™ Mushroom® Packaging. The protective packaging is currently in use by industry leaders including Dell, Crate & Barrel and PUMA. This renewable, home-compostable packaging material replaces thousands of EPS, EPP and EPE plastic foam packaging parts. Restore™ Mushroom® Packaging is now being made widely available from our Upstate Green Island Plant and our partnership with Sealed Air Corporation.
Today, we are working on designing additional win-win-winmaterials beyond protective packaging, for the apparel, automotive and building industries. We aim to displace harmful plastics and foams wherever possible. For many years, humans have optimized the potential of natural materials made from plants and animals. We're just scratching the surface of what's possible with the fungi kingdom, and the future possibilities seem endless.
We’re also excited to announce that our Mushroom Materials are now Cradle to Cradle GOLD certified. It’s the highest C2C achievement level any material or product has ever achieved, and we’re not stopping. We’ll keep out-innovating ourselves until our products go beyond sustainability — we also expect the production and use of Mushroom Materials to be environmentally beneficial.
Imagine a factory that uses 100% renewable energy, and makes a variety of safe, high performance materials and products. Imagine materials that sequester carbon, fulfill human needs, and eventually, when you’re done with them, return their nutrients to nature. That’s our dream, and we believe that nature can inspire and achieve our dreams as long as we work hard, too.
Published Jun 26, 2013 3pm EDT / 12pm PDT / 8pm BST / 9pm CEST