In this post:
Economic potential of Bio-Packaging,
Mushroom packaging and bio-plastics already in use by big companies,
S.W.O.T. Analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats,
Companies doing it now,
EMF Plastics Initiative
…at the bottom other posts & MycoComposite Material Suppliers
We have heard it all before: Polymers forever – the Plastics revolution*
There are lots of reasons to look for replacements. Some say that the 2nd largest industrial polluter is plastics – the single-use kind. The kind that cushions/protects packaging is one of the big ones.
Mycelium in the Packaging Industry
Can alternative packaging compete? How realistic is this forecast?
This post is about the “protective” packaging industry. Today, a mycelium grown composite material can replace plastic-foam material. The kind around the computer that might arrive at your home. However, after you take out the computer and want to throw away the foam, if it is a mycelium grown composite, you can break it up into pieces and drop it in your garden to decompose. 100% compostable.
Economic potential of Bio-Packaging
Packaging in any form is the single largest consumer of plastic. Packaging accounts for 40% of this €300billion-a-year industry in Europe alone. While all the packaging segments will register healthy gains, they will be outpaced by the e-commerce market, which is dependent on protective packaging. Their prices have been going up since the start of 2017. Is this because of oil prices?
Currently, the bio-plastics market is about 1% of standard petrochemical-based polymer plastic sales. Packaging is the largest share of bio-plastics at almost 60% (1.2 million tonnes) of both flexible and rigid. Bio-plastics are products made of plant-elements and are at least partly bio-degradable. Mycelium protective packaging is 100% plant-based and 100% bio-degradable.
If oil prices continue to rise, the demand for environment friendly products will grow. Polluters must pay for the environmental damage they cause – raising their prices. The price gap between plastic and alternative packaging will narrow. Already in 2016 bio-plastic producers were saying that the cost of some next-generation bio-plastics were about equal with the cost to produce from oil.
Is totally natural packaging feasible?
Using plant-based packaging removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as the plants/fungi grow. This makes it a carbon neutral process, possibly carbon negative. This means that other companies will invest in your mushroom packaging company to get carbon offsets.
There is an increasing number of renewable-resource based alternatives. They range from corn, sugar cane and starch to bamboo, algae, seaweed, cashew nuts as well as the mushroom packaging. The feasibility of these products will depend on their renewability and carbon footprint. But, of course, they will also depend on their ability to compete and their relationship with alternative land uses. Plant-based industries lend themselves best as local suppliers. The global bio-plastics packaging industry is forecast, by some, to grow from 2017–2022 at an annual average rate of 17%. And may have a market value of almost $7.2 billion.
Mushroom packaging and bio-plastics already in use by big companies
The demand for mushroom packaging should take a significant share of the global packaging market in the near future. Already in 2011 some companies started to use alternative packaging.
- DELL: bamboo packaging and mushroom packaging for their servers.
- Procter&Gamble: sugar cane-based polyethylene containers
- Coca-Cola: bottles contain at least 30% plant-based material – PlantBottl
- NEC: 70% bioplastic in mobile phone cases made out of cashew nut shells and oil
- Snyder’s of Hanover: renewable plant based packaging for pretzels
- Whole Foods: fiber-based biodegradable food-to-go containers
- Macy’s: 100% biodegradable packaging materials for online purchase shipments
Mushroom Packaging continues to lower its energy footprint with sterilising technology. Companies already using it for their products are Rich Brilliant Willing(RBW) (Lighting), Stanhope Seta (laboratory instruments), Merck, SPOR, Steelcase Inc. (furniture), Dell Computers, and now Ikea.
Dell Technologies, for example, has tested mushroom packaging in its laboratories. They are using it to ship their servers to select customers, which ship four at a time. The mushroom cushions are used in combination with other packaging made from bamboo. “We’ve tested this in the lab, it passed all of our packaging tests. Perform’s like a champ.” says Dell’s Director of Worldwide Procurement & Packaging. “With any new material we introduce, we make sure to also check it by using it in the field.”
Mushroom packaging passed Steelcase Inc.’s extensive sustainability tests as well as performance tests for quality, durability and humidity following the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Standards.
Mycelium in the Packaging Industry creates further income potential for farmers. It gives them a way to sell, rather than throw away, agricultural byproducts. The business model for fabricating mushroom packaging supports local economies.
Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats
This S.W.O.T. Analysis shows the many competitive advantages Mushroom based materials have over plastic.
- Easily grown from agricultural waste products which are plentiful
- Strong, lightweight, mouldable
- uses less energy in fabrication
- No waste or pollution from the process itself
- No health risks
- Mycelium is naturally fire resistant!
- can take longer to produce than most plastics
- At this time, smaller range of products that plastics
- Environmentally safe replacement of plastic products
- Research opportunities to improve and create more products
- Community development through GrowItYourself initiatives
- Competing against strong established plastic
- Misinformed opposition to fungus grown products
Companies doing it now >>>>>>>>>>>
- High quality performing
- Has a premium, natural aesthetic
- Price competitive with most fabricated plastic foams
- Unbeatable environmental story
- Home-compostable and sustainable
- Custom designed to fit your products
- Not derived from petroleum or food
- Made in the USA
Ecovative wants to work with industry and consumers to rid the world of toxic, un-sustainable materials. We believe in creating products that enable companies to achieve their sustainability goals, without having to sacrifice on cost or performance. >> How to make your own……
Well established suppliers like Testvalley Packaging are beginning to offer bio-degradable materials including mushroom packaging……
Even large pure plastic packaging suppliers are getting on board…………
*Polymers forever – the Plastics revolution
*Polymers forever – the Plastics revolution Starting in the 1920’s Mr. Hermann Staudinger began his campaign. Mass production of plastic started in the mid 1940’s and Mr. Staudinger finally won the 1953 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on synthetic polymers. Now Polymers/Plastics are everywhere — and therein lies the problem. Plastics we use in everyday life, more than 75% of all plastic packaging, is single-use.
The Naive Plastics revolution
Plastics are both very durable in use, and very resistant to break-down. Ocean currents have caused plastic to collect in specific areas. In 1997 the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ was discovered. – the naive plastics revolution
At the World Economic Forum in Davos, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF) announced that the list of leading brands, retailers, and packaging companies working toward 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging, by 2025 had grown to 11. The list now includes Amcor, Ecover, evian, L’Oréal, Mars, M&S, PepsiCo, The Coca-Cola Company, Unilever, Walmart, and Werner & Mertz. These companies represent more than 6 million tonnes of plastic packaging per year. Global demand for protective packaging is forecast to increase 6.5% per year to $33.5 billion by 2021. This is in large part due to the e-commerce industry.
UPDATE: Nestlé joined the list in April 2018 and Colgate-Palmolive joined in June 2018. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation is calling for the whole industry to follow this lead.
Shanghai World of Packaging
How many new innovations will be there?
Suppliers of Mycelium Composite Material, around the world:
>Mr. Russell Whittam, www.aussimushroomsupplies.com.au,
I’ve done lots of work with universities the last few years; supplying them with substrate and how to make their own materiel, etc. as well.
I’ve got a new product coming out about mid-2020 – for making things – just add water, spawn and mold the material. Then let it grow. Contact him at: [email protected]
>Ecovative Design is closing a license agreement for Australia. Write to them to get specifics.
>Grown.bio – has a license agreement with Ecovative Design.
their new MycoComposite™ kits consist of only LIVING mushroom material and are supplied to the EU countries. Possible also for geographical Europe, but customs clearances must be taken care of by the person making the order.
Grown.bio is now supplying the Mycelium Composite ™ material to insulate buildings. They have insulated class rooms in an Amsterdam school building and in a house in a village near Rotterdam. Scroll down to Building & Architecture products here. They have supplied the MycoComposite™ to many of the projects taking place in Europe, recently, that have been mentioned in my posts. Grown.bio sells other things made from MycoComposite™.
>MYCOTECH has an internship, offer. It makes a lot of sense to get some controlled experience with mycelium. MYCOTECH produces and sells, mycelium board composite panels BIOBO, and supplied the labor and material for the MycoTree project.
> Bio Fab NZ a new website that Ecovative has lincensed in New Zealand.
> The Magical Mushroom Company a new website that Ecovative has lincensed in the UK.
>Grow-It-Yourself Kits for MycoComposite™ are now available direct from Ecovative’s Grow.bio. Here you will find all instructions, learning, and purchasing information. Grow.bio, however, only ships the MycoComposite™ material within North America.
>Ecovative Design has transferred all their Mushroom Packaging production equipment to a facility 4x bigger at Paradise Packaging Co. The new company and new website offer you more information about the mushroom packaging material and how it works. As always, the company is also happy to discuss licensing.
>The Mushroom Guru, Ash Gordon, that assisted Ms. Katy Ayers with her Myconoe, would be happy to “help people grow mycelium and mushrooms in any capacity“. Nebraska Mushroom LLC, [email protected]
>>>more places around planet Earth:
From Ecovative: “We are finalizing licenses that will soon bring MycoComposite™ to Western Asia, Northern Africa, and Southern Europe. Ecovative receives dozens of licensing inquiries a week. We are establishing licenses to serve markets around the world, in order to reduce cost and carbon footprint when shipping material. A license is in the works for Australia. If you don’t see your location listed now, you can be sure Mushroom® Packaging will be available in your region, soon. Contact Ecovative to get specifics.
In additional posts, you can take a look at Mycelium in:
Mycelium R&D Projects
Mycelium in Fashion Marketing – One Approach
May 2019 Mycelium in Industry update: Construction, Packaging, Textile, Furniture, +
June 2019 Mycelium Composites? Hands-on – How to do it yourself
October 2019 Mycotecture? more-Mycelium in Construction
March 2020 “Mycelium in Industry” Where else can you get information, help, assistance?
March 2020 Mycelium in Construction?…some tangible progress
….all of which can be what was discussed on the first post in this series; the foundation of thousands of Local Future Businesses – The Mycelium Industry – Ancient and New