Innovation is more than a word to drive marketing campaigns. It speaks to our ability to use human creativity to improve the world around us. In everything from improving the vehicles we drive to the smart-devices prevalent in our lives, innovation drives us towards a better future. Take, for example, the TEDTalk given by Eben Bayer in which he shows how recent developments have allowed us to use mushrooms to improve packaging materials.
In his talk, Bayer walks us through the discovery that mushrooms can actually be integrated into product creation. This not only requires less energy to create material, but also means that the substance is completely compostable. This is important, as modern synthetic materials require a significant amount of energy to create and are often difficult to dispose of.
One of the worst of these packing components, according to Bayer, is Styrofoam. It is not only toxic and biologically incompatible, but it is taking up 25 percent of the world’s landfills. And sadly, the material will be around for thousands of years, poisoning our environment. In fact, elements of the packaging materials that we try to keep trapped in landfills have often ended up floating around our own bodies. A change was needed, which led directly to innovation.
Mycelium in mushrooms is a self-assembling material which allows seed husks or normal biomasses found nearby in nature to be transformed into an easily malleable polymer. This 100 percent bio-compostable option can be used to create materials with a large variety of properties, just like plastic. With a large amount of crop waste like buckwheat husks and oak hulls from normal agricultural activity here in the United States, there is plenty of byproduct to allow for the creation of mycelium. That means products can continue to be American made, while keeping America beautiful.
Bayer lays out three key principles to keep in mind when exploring innovative ways to produce better packaging. The first is source material. While petroleum has driven our societies to unforeseen heights, it is time to look toward renewable resources to create our necessary materials. Second is conservation of energy. Producing materials that are energy-efficient can reduce the strain on our world’s resources as well. Finally, it is important to utilize materials that are environmentally friendly and limit environmental damage so that we preserve the earth for thousands of years to come.
At Transhield, we are constantly looking for innovations in our own sphere of influence. While Bayer’s mycelium packaging concept applies more to consumer-based goods, this creative approach inspires us to seek out new avenues to provide a product that is not only better for our customers, but also better for the world they live in. To find out more about Transhield and our incredible line of products, visit us today at transhield-usa.com!