A project by Shirley Leung, Jae Pearl, Stephanie Murphy
Introduction to Myco:
Our way of life is shifting as we deepen our consideration of thoughtful and ethical practices, especially when it comes to single use products. Consumers feel the tension between the desire to live a more sustainable lifestyle and access to doing so in a convenient way. Plastic and artificial materials that litter our oceans are a ubiquitous aspect of the consumer experience but that is slowly starting to change. This macro trend exhibits a shift in industry focus on sustainable alternatives and the emergence of green business models. Now we see mycelium surfacing as a viable alternative to environmentally damaging materials.
Business Model & Background:
Designs revolving around circular economies have emerged in various spaces recently. Circular Economies, in this context, is a restorative system in which products and services are initially designed within a reusable life-cycle in mind.. Products are either repurposed or in the case of biodegradable materials, return to nature. The system optimizes for sustainability and eliminates waste. Companies such as Nike, Lush and many more prioritize their focus in these areas and “[s]ustainable sourcing covers multiple individual processes but the three most commonly reported focus areas were sustainable materials, transparency and traceability, and supplier relationships”.1 There is an increasing focus on using material that is sustainable because consumers care about their products they are purchasing and the impact on the environment.
This green ethos emerges from the consumers allowed companies to redesign their branding in order to espouse a more ethical, healthy, and wholesome lifestyle. People want to strip down to the essentials and minimize unnecessary impact. For our product at Myco, we’re focusing on a simple approach to decreasing the environmental waste produced by the food industry. We’re looking into using mycelium as a renewable material to replace plastic and paper plates, and bowls. Because mycelium is a plant-based product, it is specifically the networks of the mushroom plant, mycelium can go right into compose units. It is a strong, durable, and sustainable material.
According to New York based biotech company, Ecovative’s CEO, Eben Bayer, “[A natural alternative] can address a lot of our serious problems especially in the category of single-use plastics.” Ecovative is a company that explores using mycelium as an alternative material to replace plastic goods, leather, and even meat. Like us, they are interested in entering the food industry. According to the Plastic Pollution Coalition, “Plastic litter from takeout orders — including cups, plates, cutlery, and straws — is a prime source of the estimated 269,000 tons.” Replacing the plastic litter is merely a first step in realigning the global reliance on single-use plastic. While Ecovative is interested in exploring the food space, they are actually more interested in using mycelium as a meat-alternative.(cite forbes article) Our product, Myco is interested in using mycelium as a replacement for plastic bowls and plates in takeout chains. We operate in the same industry, but separate supply chains. Our product intention are complementary goods in the circular economies.
Myco bowls are created completely out of mycelium mushrooms grown in a hemp substrate. Over time, in the right environment with humidity and oxygen, the mycelium fibers grow over these substrates creating a network for a fibrous, strong, material that develops over the shape it is casted in. Our mycelium bowls are covered in food-grade beeswax to improve the water repellency of the bowls. Some are even infused with herbs and natural flavoring. After use, these bowls, along with the food content can go straight into the compost bin because it is entirely biodegradable. We are actively operating in a market that is currently seeing a rapid shift to more environmentally friendly models. We hope to exist in the space for as long as possible and have future plans to scale implementing with standard manufacturing techniques and move into the fast-casual market.
Brands Set Big Sustainability Sourcing Goals for 2025, in New McKinsey Report
NIKE HAS ‘UNCORKED’ THEIR LATEST KICKS SO YOU CAN BE ECO-FRIENDLY IN STYLE!
Gavin Keightley’s Terraform furniture is cast in moulds made from food
Circular design to be showcased at Norwegian Presence in Milan
Entrepreneur Behind Mushroom-Root Packaging Spins New Food Business Out Of Ecovative To Focus On Mycelium-Based Meats