Published On: Tue, Feb 14th, 2012

Ecovative’s chief explains mushroom-based packaging

Ecovative's chief explains mushroom-based packaging

Ecovative's chief explains mushroom-based packaging

Eben Bayer is the co-founder and CEO of Ecovative Design LLC, a bio-materials company that growʼs sustainable replacements for many of the toxic plastics that are poisoning our planet. Eben co-invented the MycoBond platform, a patent-pending technology that uses a growing organism to transform agricultural byproducts into strong composite materials. These materials are 100% compostable, made with a fraction of the energy of conventional plastics.

In regards to the mushroom technology your company has developed, which applications have the most growth potential in your opinion?

Our technology is particularly adapt at substituting for commonly used foams like EPS, EPP, or EPE. So of course, packaging has been a huge hit for us and I think there is a ton of growth potential in this market. Fundamentally, there isn’t anything foam can do today in packaging that we can’t, so its a matter of building our presence and expertise in this space and reaching appropriate size to match economies of scale.

Other industries that use molded shapes for impact absorption, automobiles for example, are also a strong fit, and we also see a lot of interest for our material in flat stock form. This might be used as insulation for buildings or as the structural core in a table or boat.

What have been the challenges of taking this technology to market?

Certainly scaling, both the physical factories, and the knowledge for a particular industry, have both been challenges. Fortunately we have had some great early adopters, and have grown with them to be a mainstream solution in the protective packaging space.

And the results above your expectations? What are the next steps?

Our next steps within packaging are to extend our physical reach, more production facilities in more places, and more folks on the ground to help customers get the design they need. In other industries, like structural cores, we are now starting to scale manufacture processes and our industry understanding.

What are you looking forward to hear at this year’s Sustainability in Packaging Conference in Orlando?

I’m looking forward to the people! Can’t wait to meet new faces, and catch up with friends.

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