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Ecovative Ecocradle

Grow your own packaging with this eco-friendly, fungus-based shipping solution

by Greg Stefano in Design on 09 February 2011

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Founded just a few years ago by two Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute grads, the environmentally-friendly firm Ecovative is already proving themselves valuable with their new solution to problematically wasteful shipping materials. The Ecocradle, from top to bottom a sustainable alternative to standard supplies, uses agricultural waste as raw materials instead of petroleum-based synthetics.

Offering an equal level of protection compared to traditional packaging, Ecovative's version remains ten times more energy efficient and completely biodegradable. It makes a great solution for safe transport of precious goods without the guilt (not to mention hassle) of foam peanuts spilling from the box of your latest gadget.

To create the "cradle," a mash-up of buckwheat hulls and other agricultural byproducts bond together with a fungal root, creating a sturdy form that can be custom grown to meet almost any specifications. Completely recyclable and compostable, Ecovative encourages its customers to get creative by reusing the material in art projects, gardens or household modifications—after you unpack your new gizmo, you can use its cradle as mulch for your tomato plants.

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Beyond the physical product, Ecovative has also made a large effort to fine-tune every aspect of the production process to keep it environmentally friendly. The Ecocradle is grown in the dark with no water or harmful chemicals, and their production facility operates using hydroelectric power, emitting zero greenhouse gases. They deliberately choose raw agricultural materials that have no food or fuel value, and they source materials locally to avoid the carbon cost of transportation.

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From production to packaging, the team at Ecovative is an outstanding example of how businesses can maintain sustainable product models. The Ecocradle is currently available from the Ecovative online shop, which will soon offer a DIY MycoBond kit so you can grown your own packaging.

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