Swedish retail giant Ikea revealed its plans to replace the existing polystyrene packaging with eco friendly mushroom based alternative. The new biodegradable fungus-based packaging will be more easy to be recycled. The company announced that the newly developed biodegradable “fungi packaging”, would also reduce wastage. The head of sustainability for Ikea in the UK, Joanna Yarrow said, “We are looking for innovative alternatives to materials, such as replacing our polystyrene packaging with mycelium – fungi packaging,” The flat-pack furniture retailer said the fungi packaging was as a result of its innovative search for an improved processes and sustainable material that could contribute to their commitment.
The packaging is made of Mycelium, the part of a fungus that grows in a mass of branched fibres, attaching to the soil or whatever it is growing on – in effect, mushroom roots. The packaging developed by US company Ecovative by allowing mycelium to grow around clean agricultural waste, such as corn stalks or husks. The company calls this Mushroom Packaging. Joanna Yarrow told English daily Telegraph that “Ikea was looking at introducing mycelium packaging because a lot of products come in polystyrene, traditionally, which can’t be – or is very difficult to – recycle”.
Ms Yarrow, speaking at an Aldersgate Group sustainability function held in London said that one can grow the mycelium into a mould that fits exactly which allows to create bespoke packaging.