Innovation That Matters

| Photo source S.Lab

Could a mushroom material be the future of packaging?


S.Lab combines mushrooms and hemp to create a completely biodegradable polystyrene replacement

Spotted: We all know that plastic is a problem – but one of its forms, polystyrene, is a particular scourge on the environment. The material is rarely recycled and, because it’s so lightweight, it is easily blown into the ocean, where seabirds and other creatures often mistake it for food.

Ukrainian startup S.Lab wants to do away with polystyrene altogether, replacing it with a sustainable, high-performing plant-based alternative. 

S.Lab’s innovative material uses only mycelium and hemp in a closed-loop system that’s both water- and energy-efficient. The two components bind together to create a strong, waterproof, thermally insulating material that is also 100 per cent biodegradable. In comparison to plastic polystyrene, which takes several hundred years to degrade, S.Lab’s material will naturally biodegrade in just 30 days once discarded. And by adopting a closed-loop system, the company is ensuring that its own environmental footprint is minimised.

The packaging is suitable for a huge range of products, including food, beauty items, pharmaceuticals, and electronics. S.Lab has already been working on pilot projects for companies like L’Oréal, Samsung, and Sony.

Springwise has spotted other alternative uses for mushrooms, including in sustainable clothing and home furnishings.

Written By: Amanda Simms




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