Fungi packaging; who would have thought that these two words would stand side by side? Well, Swedish retailer giant Ikea revealed last year that it plans to use mushroom packaging instead of polystyrene. Could mushrooms be the plastic of the future?

The Rise of Mushroom Packaging

Biomaterials company, Evocative, produces mushroom packaging using the vegetative part of a mushroom fungus along with crop waste to form a
bioplastic.

While this might sound ludicrous, large retailers, including Ikea, are considering using this biodegradable packaging option to replace polystyrene. Why? Joanna Yarrow, head of sustainability for Ikea in the UK, has previously told The Telegraph that many products are packaged in polystyrene, which is either difficult to recycle or cannot be recycled at all.

Consequently, the company is looking for innovative packaging alternatives, such as fungi packaging. This packaging, which contains mycelium, will decompose naturally within a matter of weeks, and therefore reduce waste and increase recycling.
 


 

 How is Fungi Packaging Made?

This biodegradable packaging material was invented in 2010 and is manufactured in Troy, New York. Here’s how it’s made:

1. The Agricultural waste, such as corn stalks or husks, is purchased from regional farmers and cleaned.

2. Mycelium is added to the waste, bagged and then left to grow for a few days.

3. The mycelium digests the waste and white fibres are formed. Each particle is coated in mycelium and then broken into loose particles.

4. Mycelium grows around the loose particles forming a solid shape, which is then dried to prevent the growth of mushrooms or spores.
 

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The Advantages of Mushroom Packaging

The beauty of fungi packaging is that it’s 100% biodegradable. Mushroom packaging prevents waste streams from building up in landfills so it’s hugely beneficial to the environment. How? Well, rather than it taking thousands of years to decompose, it can biodegrade naturally in a compost or backyard within weeks.

This alternative packaging material can be moulded into a variety of shapes and sizes to suit your personal specification so the world is your oyster when it comes to using mushroom packaging for your products. The fact that this material is cost effective further adds to the appeal of this packaging solution.
 

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While you can’t purchase fungi packaging here at Charlotte Packaging, you can buy fully biodegradable packaging materials, such as our paper bags. Shop our range of biodegradable packaging solutions today and find the perfect products to match your needs and demonstrate an eco-friendly ethos to your customers.

Recommended Reading:

The World’s Worst Wrappings

What is Polypropylene?

The Rising Relevance of Recycling