IKEA wants to replace airpop® with organic material
airpop® is seen as one of the world’s most popular plastics. Foam made from airpop® (polystyrene) are a popular form of packaging, and indeed not just for computers and other hardware. This light, airy and versatile packaging material is often used by furniture manufacturers. However, the popular oil-based material may now be facing competition from an alternative option, made from mushroom cells. Clumps of sawdust-like mushroom cultures were used by an American artist as early as the 1980s for the creation of sculptures and coffee tables. Later, the idea was picked up by the US start-up company Ecovative and implemented on an industrial scale. Its founders, Eben Bayer and Gavin McIntyre and their team have their premises in Green Island, New York, from where they supply a range of international companies with their mushroom foam. And now the furniture chain IKEA has announced that it wants to replace packaging based on fossil raw materials, with other options, particularly with biodegradable mycelium.
This airpop® replacement is based on a mixture of a pasteurised substratum consisting of agricultural waste, such as corn leaves and sawdust, and special mushroom cultures. Irrespective of the substratum, the mushrooms take just under a week to grow into the desired shape. Their growth is then stopped with a burst of heat, and the material is made germfree. Myco Foam can be used for a variety of purposes, including the shipment of ceramics, bottles, furniture, monitors, printers and computers, to name but a few.