Waste Not, Want Not

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We live in a disposable society. Our landfills are overflowing with non-biodegradable materials that came from the so-called conveniences in our lives. Styrofoam cups and packing materials, bubble wrap, unbreakable plastics and cheap shopping bags. A little awareness helps us to be more conscious of our wasteful ways. Bringing our own bags to the grocery store, or recycling our glass and metals and plastics, simply doesn’t seem like enough.

Packing materials are one area that really irks me. The baked goods at Indigo Jones Eats are lovingly packaged to ensure that they arrive at their destination fresh, and without a crumb out of place. All that packaging adds up. Recycling boxes often helps, but at some point, it feels unappetizing to pack fresh foods into a box with old packing tape and stickers all over it, so a new one, albeit a recycled paper one, gets called into duty.  I have started shredding old papers to use as filler and padding, avoiding some, yet not all of the bubble wrap I used to use. I even try to re-purpose those giant padded strips that come in all of Amazon’s shipments. Noble as these practices are, there is still a box, a ton of shredded paper, and plastic bubble wrap padding my cello wrapped packages of cookies and s’mores.

According to the French Ministry of Ecology, we toss more than 14 million TONS of waste into landfills each year. It is estimated that by the year 2050, 99% of all birds on this planet will have some plastic in their guts. Something must be done to rectify this!

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Always innovative Ikea is among the first to introduce an alternative for their packing. Working with American based company Ecovative, they are using mushrooms, instead of styrofoam to protect their products.

Using mycelium, the part of the fungus that acts as roots, attaching itself to soil or whatever surface it is growing on is the base of this unique product.  Ecovative grows the mycelium around clean agricultural waste, such as corn husks, until the fibers bind together into a solid shape. They then dry the fibers to prevent further growth.  The end product is bespoke packing, formed to fit specific items.

In addition to creating packaging for Ikea and Dell Computers among others, Ecovative also offers a “grow your own” package which allows the consumer to create their own mushroom material products.

The best part? The mushroom materials decompose in the garden in just a few weeks. Genius!

To learn more, or to order some, checkout Ecovative’s website.

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Photos courtesy of Ecovative.

 

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