I raised mushrooms: how the future of the future eaten plastic

I raised mushrooms: how the future of the future eaten plastic

Most of the products that we produce and use follow the linear model of the life cycle, turning into waste when their service life ends.

Much of what we use daily is designed for one -time consumption: 95% of plastic packaging is thrown out after a single use.

12 million tons of plastic are thrown into the ocean every year.

A real alternative is a world of new self -extensible materials, where, throughout the entire life cycle, the product does not need large energy costs or harmful dyes, but only the imagination and understanding of biology and processes in nature are required.

The whole biomass around us is a living, dying and creating habitat – this is an extensive and continuous production of materials.

There are no landfills in the forests, there are no wastewater in the ocean: organisms know how to get, use, break down substances and use it again.

And we can take advantage of this knowledge.

Zero waste To produce plastic packaging, for example, from polystyrene or polystyrene, it is necessary to spend oil and natural gas, known for their high -energy extraction methods.

With disposal, energy is needed again, otherwise the packaging will decompose in the ground for more than 500 years or swim with sea garbage in the ocean.

The same packaging of mycelium – a composite material based on the mushroom picked – is grown at room temperature on organic waste of agriculture, spending 40% less energy than plastic production.

To dispose of it, energy is practically not necessary: moreover, you can use mycelium garbage as a natural fertilizer for agricultural activity: waste from one type of activity becomes raw materials for another.

Thus, you did not leave behind toxic chemicals, plastic or other waste, but received a completely biodegradable substrate that actually nourishes natural processes and forms the soil.

Using a mycelium cup instead of plastic, is not an attempt to destroy the “toxic” material, but an attempt to make it self -destructive: mycelium is capable of “eating” plastic waste and increase the decomposition rate of plastic masses from 1,000 years to tens.

Whether you grow mycelium bacon or leatherette, you do this without the participation of animals and with a minimum of carbon trace.

Moreover, biomaterials can potentially be carbon-negative, since plants and organisms remove CO2 from the atmosphere while they are alive and accumulate it in their cells.

Why is mycelium a supermaterial of the future? Mycelium is a vegetative root of mushrooms, which absorbs nutrients from organic matter and binds them.

The mycelium is similar to the finest roots with webded, branching threads of cells – gyphes.

Unique networks are formed from them that can withstand water, decay, internal or external pressure.

Mushrooms developed over millions of years and learned to build complex and stable structures: they naturally and reasonably branch, spread into any shape, maximizing the surface area with a minimum waste of energy.

The walls of mycelial cells are reinforced with chitin from which insect shells are made.

Sturable cell walls plus woven structure plus the ability to “self -gathering” – we get the supermaterial of the future.

The unique property of mycelium – to reproduce the “architecture” of a given form – allows us to set any parameters and forms that they will fill out to mushrooms.

There are millions of types of mushrooms, which means a huge number of possible materials with various potential qualities.

Some strains, for example, know how to maintain their shape even after prolonged pressure or bending.

Others are able to keep color or demonstrate a certain texture.

The properties of the material depend on which mixture for the substrate you have taken, what type of mushrooms you use, and what environmental conditions you created for growth.

In addition, mycelium material can be formed using formwork, as well as additive technologies.

Producing, for example, parallel mycelium fibers that imitate muscle tissue, you can make a bacon.

From art objects-to mass consumption Mushrooms have the ability to split different substances, including harmful waste, they can help clean toxic garbage and contaminated soil.

During the London Design Festival, Blast Studio demonstrated the process of eating the mushrooms of processed cardboard cups and pizza boxes, from which new pieces of furniture using a 3D printer were immediately “printed”.

Industry 4.

0 In Germany, a compact 3D printer was developed for Nan printing Mushrooms are not a mainstream yet, but the growth of this sector will be explosive.

Now mycelium production is rapidly developing in the design segment: mycelium is a living creature, therefore, for unique copyright items, it gives endless possibilities: each time you get new textures and colors, and you do not have two identical objects.

To obtain the desired color, so as not to poison nature by the by -products of chemical staining, you can use the “living systems” themselves – microorganisms, bacteria producing the pigment.

Bacterial colonies help to paint products in different colors and set them up, varying the appearance and growth environment.

This approach creates vivid interesting patterns, and a product is obtained, fully created by nature.

Potentially, the technology itself allows you to grow mycelium materials in volumes that could transform entire industries.

Mushrooms can be used for everything: from household insulation to furniture and packaging, replacing plastics, polystyrene foam and other materials that are difficult to process and are harmful to the environment.

Mycelium is an alternative to disposable plastic: already today, Ecovative, which has established “mushroom” production on an industrial scale, offers replacement of objects from the sphere of packaging and beauty industry, like sponges and slippers – pleasant miceeli analogues that can be composted at home.

Now on the market of such products you can find interesting niche offers – from noise -defering panels for sound recording studios to self -extensible mycelium coffins.

Gradually, mushrooms -based products penetrate into the area of building materials, for example, flooring.

At the faculty of architecture of the University of Pennsylvania, they came up with a combination of mycelium and tension structures, such as ropes, in order to “grow” large -scale architectural structures resembling mesh shells and construction forests.

For the first time, the architecture turned out to be completely biodegradable.

When will the mushrooms become mainstream? Today, mushrooms are mainly involved in medicine, healthcare and food sector.

Now, for example, the trend is city mushroom farms, refrigerators with fresh oyster mushrooms and champignons, which are grown right in restaurants.

Residents of Korean Seoul breed mushrooms in the basements of their residential buildings, using compost from food waste for them.

Green economy To the light bulb: how to live without electricity in the center of Seoul Over the next years, we can expect mass penetration of technologies based on mycelium into other areas of economics – industry and production, as well as the fight against pollution, waste and climate change.

But to make the production of a product from mycelium economically effective and scalable, you will need the integration and cooperation of several industries that will request these materials.

However, most of the world of mushrooms has not yet been investigated.

There is such a “megasayens” – mycology, which has been neglected for quite some time.

Now the research potential is implemented on the basis of university laboratories – in the USA, Great Britain, Holland, a new generation of bio -designers is being formed in such centers that can work not only with the appearance of the product, but also take into account the biological qualities and “habits” of the material.

In Russia, such specialists have not yet appeared.

In the Moscow Center for Urbanism, there is a “green” direction – “ecostosta”, which is engaged in the sustainable development of territories and businesses.

Inside it, we opened the first laboratory in Russia to study the properties of mycelium material for the production of consumer goods, our 3D printing workshop and marketplace.

Today, the world is on the threshold of the revolution in the approaches to the design and rethinking of the concept of waste: any remnant of the material can be reintegrated into the process of circular design through the use of its own natural properties.

We still do not use the entire potential of mycelium, which is key in the process of natural “digestion” – turns the dead organic matter into nutrients that form the soil, and is involved in the storage of carbon gigatons in this basis.

But technologically, a large step to the cyclic economy has already been made, which seeks to reduce the number of waste to zero, as in nature: the “garbage” of one organism becomes the resource of another, and this ecosystem makes each forest constantly maintain “metabolism”.


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