Circular economy

Ikea, will the furniture be packaged with mushrooms instead of Styrofoam?

Questo post è disponibile anche in: Italian

According to Circulate, the Swedish company might be about to adopt a biodegradable packaging system based on mycelium.

The low-cost furniture giant Ikea is allegedly studying the possibility to implement a biodegradable packaging system based on mycelium, the vegetative part of fungi, instead of Styrofoam.

This solution is completely compostable: it was developed by the U.S. startup Ecovative, and since its launch in 2010 it has already been adopted by a considerable number of companies, including Dell. The raw material comes from vegetation and agriculture waste that is unsuitable for human or animal consumption and is therefore worthless for the agricultural sector. The material is cleaned and mixed with mushroom tissue. The mycelium is left to grow for 5-7 days, with no need for light or water: it digests the agriculture waste and forms a solid structure in a pre-defined shape. The growth is stopped through a heat drying process that prevents the material from producing spores or allergens.

Since the process is extremely simple, the product is economically convenient. This technique can be applied to a wide array of raw materials, meaning that Ecovative can use any form of vegetation available where the process is required. After being used, the packaging made with this technique can be composted very easily with no need for special equipment. The details of a possible partnership with Ikea are still to be announced, for now the news was suggested by Circulate.

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