Quantcast
Business

IKEA Plans to Ditch Toxic Polystyrene for Biodegradable Mushroom Packaging

IKEA is planning to switch up their packaging in an effort to slash waste and increase recycling. The Swedish furniture giant is in talks to replace its polystyrene packaging with biodegradable fungus, The Telegraph reported.

Ecovative's Mushroom Packaging uses mushroom roots and recycled farm waste to create packaging. Photo credit: Evocative

"We are looking for innovative alternatives to materials, such as replacing our polystyrene packaging with mycelium-fungi packaging," Joanna Yarrow, head of sustainability for IKEA in the UK, told The Telegraph.

The retailer is reportedly considering Evocative Design's compostable and biodegradable Mushroom Packaging that's made of mycelium (basically the root structure of mushrooms) and agricultural waste such as corn husks and stalks.

According to the Albany Times Union, IKEA goes through 7,400 truckloads of expanded polystyrene foam annually to package its flatpacks of furniture.

Non-biodegradable, petroleum-based polystyrene—which you might know under its trade name, Styrofoam—is difficult to recycle, meaning this No. 6 plastic often ends up in the landfill.

Unlike traditional styrofoam packaging such as fast food containers and packing peanuts, Mushroom Packaging naturally biodegrades in a compost or backyard in a few weeks.

As EcoWatch reported, Mushroom Materials provides protective packaging to ship a range of products from wines to furniture delicate electronics.

To create a solid structure, the fungus fibers and waste bind together over the course of a few days. The materials are then dried to stop growth and prevent it from producing mushrooms or spores.

"The great thing about mycelium is you can grow it into a mold that then fits exactly. You can create bespoke packaging," Yarrow said at a recent Aldersgate Group sustainability event in London.

IKEA is looking at introducing the climate friendly product packaging because "a lot of products come in polystyrene, traditionally, which can’t be—or is very difficult to—recycle," Yarrow said.

The New York-based biomaterials company works with companies such Dell and Crate & Barrel. The material is also being used to make surfboards and drones.

Mushroom Materials are cost competitive with plastic foams at volume, the company says. According to Marketplace, Evocative can keep prices down "because it doesn't rely on fossil fuels to produce materials. It doesn't have an expensive factory, just molds that hold the Myco Foam while it hardens."

An IKEA spokesman confirmed to The Telegraph that they were working with Evocative.

"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," the spokesman said.

“IKEA has committed to take a lead in reducing its use of fossil–based materials while increasing its use of renewable and recycled materials.”

An Ecovative spokeswoman told The Albany Times Union there has been no formal announcement regarding a partnership with IKEA.

"Ecovative does not discuss partnerships prior to joint announcements," she said.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE 

Nation’s First Vegan-Certified Farm Is Booming in Philly

Earth Institute Student Transforms Passion Into Action

World’s First and Only Sunglasses Made From 100% Reclaimed Fishing Nets

This $16 Water Filter Could Save 100,000 Lives a Year

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Climate
A child rides his bicycle in an area affected by the Hurricane Maria passing in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico on Oct. 5, 2017. RICARDO ARDUENGO / AFP / Getty Images

Hurricane Maria's Legacy: One Year Later

As Puerto Rico marked one year since Hurricane Maria made landfall yesterday, the Miami Herald this week ran extensive reports in English and Spanish on the island's continuing recovery.

Keep reading... Show less
Science
A foldable, biodegradable battery based on paper and bacteria. Seokheun Choi / Binghamton University, CC BY-ND

Could Paper Power the Next Generation of Devices?

By Seokheun Choi

It seems like every few months there's a new cellphone, laptop or tablet that is so exciting people line up around the block to get their hands on it. While the perpetual introduction of new, slightly more advanced electronics has made businesses like Apple hugely successful, the short shelf life of these electronics is bad for the environment.

Keep reading... Show less
Business
Blue Point Brewing Company

Long Island Brewer Launches 'Good Reef Ale' to Help Restore New York’s Oyster Reefs

Between the 1600s and the early 20th century, European settlers in New York City ate their way through 220,000 acres of oyster reefs covering 350 square miles, The Washington Post reported.

Keep reading... Show less
Oceans
California restaurants will only be able to serve plastic straws like these upon request. Horia Varlan / CC BY 2.0

California Becomes First State to Regulate Plastic Straws

California became the first state in the U.S. to ban plastic straws in dine-in restaurants Thursday when Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation to that effect, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The law, which will enter into force Jan. 1, prohibits restaurants from providing straws unless a customer requests one. It covers only sit-down eateries, not fast food restaurants, delis or coffee shops.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Animals
Giannis Giannakopoulos / YouTube

'Partying' Spiders Blanket Greek Beach on 1,000-Foot Cobweb

Arachnophobes beware. A shoreline by the Greek town of Aitoliko has been swamped by a mass of mating spiders and 1,000 feet of their cobwebs.

Earlier this week, a local named Giannis Giannakopoulos uploaded a YouTube video and posted several pictures of the spectacle on his Facebook page, showing shrubs, palm fronds and other greenery completely veiled by spider webs.

Keep reading... Show less
Climate
Frank Straub / EyeEm / Getty Images

Greenpeace Report: Europe Has 10 Years Left to Ditch Fossil Fuel Cars

Europe must phase out the sales of new gasoline- and diesel-fueled cars by 2028 if it wants to live up to its Paris climate agreement emissions-reduction pledges, according to new research by Germany's Aerospace Center.

Even conventional hybrid cars, which feature gasoline-powered engines, would have to disappear by the mid-2030s if Europe intends to fulfill its part of the Paris deal to limit global warming to 1.5°C, according to the Greenpeace-commissioned study.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Climate
An ambulance crashed into a fallen tree from Storm Ali in Newcastle on Sept. 19. Owen Humphreys / PA Images via Getty Images

100 mph Winds Kill Two in First Named Storm to Hit UK and Ireland This Season

Storm Ali, the first named storm of the UK storm season, killed two and sent several to the hospital as winds of more than 100 miles per hour walloped Ireland, Scotland and Northern England Wednesday, The Guardian reported.

More than 250,000 homes and businesses in Ireland lost power and 30,000 lost power in southwest Scotland.

Keep reading... Show less
Oceans
Hawaii, Cauliflower coral (Pocillopora meandrina) with surface reflections. Robinson Ed / Perspectives / Getty Images

Hawaii's Cauliflower Coral Moves Toward Endangered Species Act Listing

Cauliflower coral, a bushy species in the Hawaiian Islands that has been devastated by ocean warming triggered by human-caused climate change, could soon get federal protection. The National Marine Fisheries Service Wednesday announced that listing the species may be warranted under the Endangered Species Act, based on a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!