Quantcast

IKEA Plans to Ditch Toxic Polystyrene for Biodegradable Mushroom Packaging

Business

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

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

David Gilmour performs at Anfiteatro Scavi di Pomei on July 7, 2016 in Pompei, Italy. Francesco Prandoni / Redferns / Getty Images

David Gilmour, guitarist, singer and songwriter in the rock band Pink Floyd, set a record last week when he auctioned off 126 guitars and raised $21.5 million for ClientEarth, a non-profit environmental law group dedicated to fighting the global climate crisis, according to CNN.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue speaks during a forum April 18, 2018 in Washington, DC. Alex Wong / Getty Images

The Trump administration ratcheted up its open hostility to climate science in a move that may hide essential information from the nation's farmers.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

Zero Waste Kitchen Essentials

Simple swaps that cut down on kitchen trash.

Sponsored

By Kayla Robbins

Along with the bathroom, the kitchen is one of the most daunting areas to try and make zero waste.

Read More Show Less
Protestors and police stand on ether side of railway tracks. dpa / picture-alliance

Police have cleared 250 climate activists who stayed overnight at the Garzweiler brown coal mine in western Germany, officials said Sunday.

Read More Show Less
Cecilie_Arcurs / E+ / Getty Images

By Megan Jones and Jennifer Solomon

The #MeToo movement has caused profound shake-ups at organizations across the U.S. in the last two years. So far, however, it has left many unresolved questions about how workplaces can be more inclusive and equitable for women and other diverse groups.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Cigarette butts are the most-littered item found at beach clean ups. John R. Platt

By Tara Lohan

By now it's no secret that plastic waste in our oceans is a global epidemic. When some of it washes ashore — plastic bottles, plastic bags, food wrappers — we get a stark reminder. And lately one part of this problem has been most glaring to volunteers who comb beaches picking up trash: cigarette butts.

Read More Show Less

Andrea Rodgers, second from the right, takes notes during a hearing in the Juliana v. U.S. case before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Portland, Oregon on June 4. Colleague Elizabeth Brown sits to her left, while colleague Julia Olson sits on her right, with co-council Philip Gregory on Julia's right. Robin Loznak / Our Children's Trust

By Fran Korten

On June 4, Andrea Rodgers was in the front row of attorneys sitting before a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court. The court session, held in Portland, Oregon, was to determine whether the climate change lawsuit (Juliana v. United States) brought by 21 young plaintiffs should be dismissed, as requested by the U.S. government, or go on to trial.

Read More Show Less
Seventy Extinction Rebellion protesters were arrested outside The New York Times building Saturday. SCOOTERCASTER / YouTube screenshot

Seventy Extinction Rebellion protesters were arrested outside The New York Times building Saturday as they demanded the paper improve its coverage of the climate crisis, Reuters reported.

Read More Show Less