A green alternative to polystyrene (PS) packaging is available, made from farm waste and mushrooms that uses 10 times less energy to produce, and biodegrades into a natural fertilizer.
Called EcoCradle, the product can also be used as insulation and is grown--not manufactured-with no greenhouse gas emissions, such as CO2, as a byproduct, says co-inventor Eben Bayer, 24, CEO of Ecovative Design.
"We have developed a platform that we think is perfect for replacing the polystyrene that is used in packaging, because... it's biodegradable and created using almost no energy, almost no CO2 emissions," he adds.
Bayer and Gavin McIntyre, classmates from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY, founded Ecovative Design in 2007 to produce EcoCradle.
"For each unit of EcoCradle we produce, compared to the same unit or volume of polystyrene, we use ten times less energy and emit eight times less CO2 over the life of the product from production, use and to disposal," Bayer says.