The styrofoam that is usually used in packaging is basically solidified oil — not so good for the environment. Ecocradle, by contrast, takes hardly any energy to make. It starts as agricultural byproducts — rice hulls and cotton burrs, for example. These are then seeded with the roots of mushrooms, which grow miles of white fibers that digest the byproducts and turn them into a white, foamlike substance. It can replace your usual synthetic foams, while using only 1/10th of the energy.
By using mycelium and agricultural by-products, they utilize materials that are environmentally low-impact, 100 percent biodegradable and renewable, and are part of a healthy ecosystem. Unlike other bio-plastics, our technology isn’t based on turning food or fuel crops into materials; only using inedible crop waste to create the products.
The way they produce EcoCradle™ uses significantly less energy than the manufacturing of synthetic foams. This is because it harnesses mycelium’s ability to self assemble lignin and cellulose into strong bio-composites, thus growing material without a lot of heat, pressure, or energy. They used Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) tools while designing the manufacturing system, to optimize every step.
So how is it grown? They grow EcoCradle™ using mycelium, a fungal network of threadlike cells. This mycelium grows around agricultural by-products like buckwheat husks, oat hulls, or cotton burrs to any shape or mould. In 5 – 7 days, in the dark, with no watering, and no petrochemical inputs, the mycelium envelops the by-products, binding them into a strong and beautiful packaging part. Inside every cubic inch of EcoCradle™, there’s a matrix of 8 miles of tiny mycelial fibers! At the end of the process, they treat EcoCradle™ with heat to stop the growth so there will never be any spores.
Oh yeh, even Dell uses it to ship their laptops in.