Our project focuses on harnessing the power of nature by utilizing mycelium, the root-like network of fungi, to create an eco-friendly alternative to traditional packaging materials. By integrating this groundbreaking solution into the realm of commercial retail, we can successfully address the negative impacts of plastic pollution and lead the path for a greener planet.
Mycelium, a root-like network of fungi, forms the foundation of our research. By utilizing mycelium, we can develop an eco-friendly alternative to traditional packaging materials, offering a range of benefits for both businesses and the environment. Derived from renewable resources like agricultural by-products and waste, mycelium-based packaging requires minimal energy during production, significantly reducing the carbon footprint associated with traditional manufacturing processes.
What sets biodegradable mycelium packaging apart is its remarkable sustainability. Once discarded, mycelium packaging undergoes natural decomposition, leaving no harmful residues behind and effectively combating the persistent plastic pollution crisis. This characteristic makes it an invaluable tool for mitigating the impact on our ecosystems.
Our production process involves coupling mycelium with other biocompatible materials, such as plant-based substrates. The mycelium hyphae penetrate the substrate matrix, forming a tight net and creating the desired biocomposite material. The resulting mycelium composites are then compressed, pasteurized, and combined with biodegradable additives to enhance durability during transportation.
We have successfully expanded the lifespan of mycelium-based composites through the addition of these biodegradable additives, ensuring the safe transport of items within the packaging. Furthermore, we have developed a cost-effective manufacturing system based on literature research, which involves cutting mycelial mats into desired shapes, impregnating plies with a natural glue compatible with fungal growth, sterilizing and solidifying the treated plies, and finally, inactivating the mycelium through drying.
By participating in the "Create the Future" competition, we aim to accelerate the adoption of biodegradable mycelium packaging on a global scale. Our vision is to provide businesses with a sustainable packaging alternative that not only reduces waste but also contributes to a healthier planet.