Bucky Fuller told us: "To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete." The Buckminster Fuller Institute gives their annual award to the initiative that best exemplifies that idea, and there little doubt that the mycological biomaterial developed by Ecovative does exactly that. According to the jury for the $100,000 award, current plastic foam products are problematic:
Current regulatory systems ignore the long-term implications of exposure to toxicity, unpredictable waste streams, environmental degradation and natural resource depletion that these materials cause, and while life-cycle and ecosystem services analyses are gaining traction, for the most part, the negative impact of these products is not given the attention it deserves.
These include, as noted on TreeHugger, greenhouse gases as blowing agents, lack of recyclability and serious fire hazard, even when loaded up with toxic flame retardants. Not so with Ecovative's products.
Their ‘mushroom material’, grown from living organisms, can be used in everything from protective packaging and furniture to insulation, footwear, even surfboards (and soon some electric car components). Ecovative’s vision is to become the first industrial age company with a net positive impact on the planet’s ecosystem, and they are well on their way. This means eliminating the negative environmental impacts of production associated with the plastics industry, producing a material that sequesters carbon, and delivers nutrients back to Earth.
Congratulations to Ecovative and to the BFI for making such a great choice.