Material of the Month, October 2014: Ecovative

Material of the Month, October 2014: Ecovative

Posted 28 July 2014 by Donna Creek

Ecovative in one sentence is ‘packaging grown from fungus’

What is Ecovative?

Ecovative is a completely new type of foam product. It was invented on the premise that traditional packing foams are derived from petrochemicals that take millions of years to form and are used in a product that has a lifespan of a few months, or even days. Ecovative produce materials grown from agricultural bi-products and mycelium (mycelium are thread-like branches grown from a fungus spore from which new mushrooms can spring up). One of the most exceptional features of Ecovative is that it grows incredibly fast, within a period of days; it is grown in the dark for five to seven days with no need for water or petrochemical inputs. Once grown, the material has similar properties to expanded plastics, and at a similar cost too. The material is acoustic, thermal and shock insulating, as well as being class 1 fire retardant.

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How is Ecovative used?

Although mainly used for packaging and insulation, Ecovative also shows a lot of potential in consumer products, though at the moment is only used to hold candles.

It’s hard to draw a comparison of Ecovative with any other material as it has a completely unique surface finish and look. It has a very organic and natural finish and can have a velvety texture similar to the touch of suede or it can be left with an even more ‘natural’ finish with a rough, uneven texture where fibers are fully visible. Due to this material’s unique construction, it is not yet possible to colour Ecovative, which comes in its natural colour of off-white. Slight colour and texture variations is also to be expected with this natural material.

 

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Have you ever used this biomaterial as part of your packaging? We would love to know your thoughts in the comments below.