Mushrooms = Sustainable Future: Replacements for Meat, Plastic, Leather, & More… Holy Shiitake!
We are entering a new decade where one of the main words is SUSTAINABILITY! Whether you realize it or not, people are starting to understand our role on this earth while respecting our fellow planetary occupants.
One of the occupants that play a HUGE role in our ecosystem is mushrooms. Yes, they are delicious on vegan pizza, in soup, and in our Chocolate Magic protein powder… but they also have some amazing eco-qualities that make them essential!!
Mycoremediation is the practice of using mushrooms to clean up contaminated soil. White-rot fungi dissolve the fibers of wood by secreting enzymes that break the fibers down Mushrooms can be used effectively against a whole array of infamous toxins including dioxins, PCBs, pesticides, coal tar, and crude oil. Mushrooms are some of nature’s best recyclers, breaking down waste matter into simpler compounds that feed the soil.
The fungi mutarium is an artificial environment in which edible mushrooms are used to break down plastic, creating a product that is safe! Bits of thin plastic is chopped up and then exposed to UV light to kill germs. They are placed in pods made of agar (an edible culture medium used to grow bacteria and other microorganisms). Then, the liquefied fungi sprouts derived from two popular mushrooms, oyster and split gill, are added and left in an incubator that is necessary for fungal growth. And just like that… in a couple of weeks, the plastic is decomposed!
Meat & Plastic Replacement
Mycelium ― the network of tissue that makes up the body of many fungi― is a great eco-friendly meat alternative! We have tried it, and it tastes phenomenal. We have even personally tried mushroom jerky, mushroom bacon, mushroom scallops, and even mushroom steak!!
Not only are mushrooms a meat replacement, but they are also a great plastic replacement! Ecovative Design produces over a million pounds per year of their compostable mushroom-based alternative to Styrofoam. Many companies are currently working on compostable mushroom-based “plastic” to replace conventional plastic products.
Mushrooms Saving The Bees
There are many people that have started growing gourmet mushrooms off of waste coffee grounds collected from cafes! Those with beehives will actually give mushroom extracts to their honey bees to greatly reduces virus levels, according to a new paper from Washington State University scientists.
Mushroom Fashion Revolution
The waste created in the fashion industry is pretty scary. Have you seen the Netflix documentary “The True Cost”? Give it a watch! In small-scale trials, mushrooms have been used to break down discarded clothing. But for a global impact, large clothing companies would need to invest in mushrooms rather than mindlessly throw their clothes in the landfill (yes, this happens VERY often!)
Mushrooms can also be fashioned into flexible leather-like clothing, pants, and even furniture! Mushroom-based leather has drawn attention as an alternative to animal skins!
MycoWorks, a group of engineers/designers/scientists, are developing clothing products inspired by mycelium! According to its website, mycelium is carbon-negative and can also be naturally dyed in any color. Think mushroom clothes in plant-dyed bright purple, fuschia, or blue!
Mushrooms don’t need much help in convincing the world they are INSANELY COOL!!! They are cancer-fighting, antibacterial, antifungal (ironic, yes) & we are just beginning to discover exactly how truly amazing fungi is! We are proud to use reishi mushroom, aka the mushroom of immortality, in our Chocolate Magic 💫
– Paul Stamets, Mushroom Expert