Ikea considers mushroom-based packaging to replace polystyrene

Ikea is considering packaging some of its products with biodegradable fungus-based packaging to replace polystyrene.

PhotoRepro:1 Adam B
Photorepro: 2 Adam B
PhotoRepro:1 Adam B Photorepro: 2 Adam B

The new biodegradable fungus-based packaging will be more easy to recycle and help reduce wastage.

Joanna Yarrow, head of sustainability for Ikea in the UK, said polystyrene is very difficult to recycle.

“We are looking for innovative alternatives to materials, such as replacing our polystyrene packaging with mycelium – fungi packaging.”

Mycelium is the part of a fungus that grows in a mass of branched fibres, and US firm Ecovative developed the mushroom packaging product, by letting the mycelium grow around clean agricultural waste, such as corn stalks or husks.

Mycelium packaging can be disposed of by throwing it in the garden where it will biodegrade naturally within a few weeks.

Speaking at an event this week, Yarrow added: “The great thing about mycelium is you can grow it into a mould that then fits exactly. You can create bespoke packaging.”

Ikea reelased a statement saying: “IKEA wants to have a positive impact on people and planet, which includes taking a lead in turning waste into resources, developing reverse material flows for waste materials and ensuring key parts of our range are easily recycled. IKEA has committed to take a lead in reducing its use of fossil –based materials while increasing its use of renewable and recycled materials.

“Mycelium is one of the materials IKEA is looking into, but it is currently not used in production.”

Ecovative supplies packaging to computer giant Dell, and there are s a few companies that use the product in the UK.


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