Ever think about where product packaging comes from or where it goes after you use it? Scott Shephard does. As Quirky’s “VP of cardboard,” everything we package goes through his hands. One of Scott’s biggest challenges? How to make packaging sustainable. Most materials, although recyclable, release chemicals and toxins when composted. Recycling is actually downcycling; the process reduces the quality of a material over time, until its lower-quality products are eventually incinerated or landfilled. In a world where throwaway products have become the norm, it’s hard to think outside the (cardboard) box. But what if we could eliminate the concept of waste entirely? That means designing products, packaging and systems that biodegrade and become food for our earth, instead of toxins. Ecovative is a company that’s stepped up with a solution: a no-waste, biodegradable material. Their mushroom packaging material is non-toxic, and can be grown anywhere from factory to in-home. It only takes a few steps:
1. Design a mold
2. Fill with agricultural waste
3. Add some ‘shrooms
4. Wait a few days…
…And voila! You’ve got your very own biodegradable packaging.
The end result is compostable, packs like styrofoam, and tastes great! (According to Scott. Please don’t eat.) Are mushrooms the future of packaging? We’ll just have to wait and see!