Since the 1950s’, humans have produced over 9 billion tons of plastic. Most of that is ending up in landfills and could take centuries to decompose. A miracle material found in nature could be the key to reducing plastic waste, it’s called mycelium and it comes from mushrooms.
EBEN BAYER, ECOVATIVE CEO: Mycelium is like the root structure of a mushroom. You’re used to seeing a mushroom above ground. Mycelium is like the roots beneath it but no one had ever tried to use them to make materials.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Eben Bayer is the CEO of Ecovative, a company that has developed a way to grow mycelium into specific shapes and sizes. They start by taking organic plant waste and mixing it with mycelium cells which act as a sort of natural glue.
BAYER: The mycelium grows through and around those particles and it binds them together and you’ve got a grown product.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ecovative mycelium products provide a natural alternative to packaging materials made out of plastic and Styrofoam.
BAYER: But at the ends of its useful life, you can actually break it up and you can put it in your own garden. So it’s - - it’s a nutrient not a pollutant.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ecovative wants to take mycelium to the next level.
BAYER: Our current technical focus is developing the next generation of mycelium materials from (inaudible) scaffolding, to leather like materials, even meat replacements.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: AKA, mycelium bacon which is still in its testing phases. The company thinks mycelium could also play a major role in construction and even in regenerative medicine.
BAYER: It really has boundless possibilities and it comes from its ability to move from the micro scale to the macro scale.