A New Appreciation for the Fungus Among Us
By Elizabeth Myer
I’m a vegetarian, which means people are often shocked to learn that in addition to my choice to exclude meat from my diet, I also hate mushrooms. I really don’t consider myself a picky person when it comes to food, but man, something about the texture of mushrooms grosses me out! However, I recently came across a story about a small upstate company called Ecovative Design that has already received heaps of attention from EPA – and get this: their business is powered by mushrooms!
Ecovative co-founders Eben Bayer and Gavin McIntyre created a completely compostable Styrofoam substitute using a technology that they developed during their senior year at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Just last June, the pair launched a packaging product called EcoCradle, which is made from the mushrooms “roots”, called mycélium. To make the biodegradable (and edible!) packaging, the mushrooms are given agricultural wastes (like seed husks) which they digest to transform into a white material that is placed into molds. There, the shape forms and dries within five days, by which point the mushroom is no longer a live material. With significant investments federal government agencies including the EPA, Ecovative Design has seen tremendous expansion since its inception. Bayer and McIntyre are successfully challenging the paradigm on how materials are manufactured and used; and what an example they have set! These guys have convinced me that for the first time in 24 years, I can get on board with the mushroom craze. And really, wouldn’t it be great if we could help them to create a world without waste?
The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.
EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.
EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.