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IKEA Starts Using Biodegradable Mushroom-Based Packaging for Its Products

Hazards of Styrofoam Packaging

Although it’s common knowledge that Styrofoam packaging can be harmful to the environment, it’s still used as a packaging material. A lot of people are unaware of the hazards of using polystyrene. According to the Ashland Food Cooperative, packaging forms about one-thirds of the municipal wastes in the United States. Not only does Styrofoam cause pollution during its production from petroleum (a fast-disappearing resource and an emitter of greenhouse gases), it also wreaks havoc on the organisms that ingest it. In fact, data states that by 2050, 99% of birds will have plastic in their guts! In developing countries cattle consume plastic which eventually causes its death.

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Source: ecosnippets.com

Mushroom-Based Packaging

Ecocradle is a completely natural packaging material that is grown from fungi types such as mushrooms. The manufacturing process is fairly simple: agricultural byproducts such as husk, oat hulls and cotton burrs, are pressed into a desired shape that can fit around items to be packaged. Then, it is seeded with mushroom spores that sprout mycelium (a root structure) after a few days. The mycelium threads rapidly through the structure and binds it together to form a shock-resistant and durable packaging material. The last step is to heat-treat the material to kill spores in order to arrest further growth of the fungus.

  • It produces 90% less carbon emissions than produced during plastic manufacture.
  • The total amount of carbon dioxide component in atmosphere remains almost undisturbed by growing fungi-based packaging. Fungi uses up carbon dioxide that gets incorporated into the packaging material. On disposal, packaging material gets decomposed or composted and returns the carbon dioxide back into the soil.
  • It decomposes with 30–90 days. Even if it is ingested by organisms, it has no dangerous side effects, although it has no nutritional benefits either.
  • Alternative packaging is a lucrative economic avenue. The global market for sustainable packaging is poised to reach more than US $142 billion in coming years. Presently, bio-plastics and green materials just constitute 1% of total packaging market share, so there is immense growth potential for manufacturers in this segment.
  • Rural communities can benefit financially by supplying agricultural wastes to mycelium manufacturers.

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We Don’t Have Time is a social network for climate action. Together we are the solution to the climate crisis.

We Don't Have Time

We Don’t Have Time is a social network for everyone who wants to be a part of the solution to the climate crisis. The power of many enables us to influence businesses, politicians and world leaders. But We Don’t Have Time to wait.

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