Fungi to replace plastic…and more!

Fungi for the future

Fungi  – opportunities for the future.

The opportunities fungi opens our world up to are nothing short of astounding.

Fungi replacing plastic…and fungi eating plastic – It’s about time this whole environmentally harmful product that plastic is get a shakedown! Enter the fungi revolution!

Fungus – The plastics of the future.

In the last 10 years, human kind has produced more plastic than in the last century, bringing with it the harm to the environment due to it’s inability to decompose. Many are working on an organic revolution to combat this exact problem, and they may well have an opportunity to change the world around us as we know it in the process. Many experimenting in this space, in particular those from the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands have a realistic view that we will see more an more of these types of products within 10 years.

Printing living cells  – Wow!

The beauty of fungus as a substitute for plastic not only lies in its capacity to decompose, but also is very flexible in the end products which can be produced. Materials derived from fungi can be cork-like, plastic like flexible skin (in a variety of different densities), soft fabric-like leather or rubber,  or a composite-like product where the fungi mimics a shape given. Diversity with this sort of technology leads to many exciting applications.

Yes….these amazing products are all about an organism growing, the key to stopping this process is to cook the fungi, rendering it a innate.

Designers such as Eric Klarenbeek designer of the unusual are creating printable structures being held together via fungi.

Fungi ChairEric Klarenbeek is looking to build models from local landfill waste by 3D printing it.

Soon, we no no longer need to rely on the oil based plastics that saturate our world, instead, opting for similar materials grown from fungi.

Innovative companies such as Ecovative grow a range of materials with the aid of fungi for commercial packing purposes.

By creating a product that is biodegradable, light and economical to produce, they have the attention of many players in the manufacturing space and are being widely used in a range of applications.

Plastic eating mushrooms!

So the most significant problem we are now facing when it comes to plastics, from this plastic revolution we have had over the past 150  years, how long it takes plastic to break down in the environment. It could be anywhere from hundreds to thousands of years; at any rate, it’s proven to be longer than the roughly 150 years that man-made plastics have existed.

Count the things made out of plastic that you can see even just sitting at your desk—water bottles, pen caps, iPhone cases, coffee lids, shopping bags, tape dispensers, everything else—multiply that by a trillion or so, and you have an idea of the scope of the plastic waste on earth.

Perhaps plastic eating mushrooms may well be the answer to getting rid of a lot of the plastic waste we have accumulated. See the following video explaining the innovative process.

I guess this sort of plastic eating fungi would have to be very controlled, otherwise we may find ourselves getting eaten out of house and home with anything plastic being a target. There goes the fridge and the computer!!

It sure is time there was an evolution in materials to replace the plastic in our everyday lives.

It is also clear that plastic is causing many environmental issues that we need to address before it becomes too big of a problem and we all suffer – perhaps fungi is one of the answers to this.