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Mushrooms Replace Styrofoam Peanuts, Bubble Wrap

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It may not make a satisfying pop or keep your cat occupied for hours, but organic, self-growing packing material is now cradling our iPod Shuffles and sexy leg lamps during shipping.

Say goodbye to UPS (UPS) and FedEx (FDX) surcharges. According to a report by e! Science News, traditional cardboard or synthetic packing material is being replaced by a composite of inedible agricultural waste and mushroom roots called Mycobond. Aside from making for great compost, Mycobond "requires just one eighth the energy and one tenth the carbon dioxide of traditional foam packing material." And since it's created purely from biological and renewable resources, the cost isn't dependent on price fluctuations on materials like petroleum.

Growing the material is as easy as monitoring a Chia Pet. Like other fungi, Mycobond is created in dark, room temperature environment and feeds on "agricultural starter material" like cotton seed or wood fiber. The casing is custom shaped during the growth process, literally engulfing the mold as chosen by the manufacturers, so no extra energy is wasted.

Already working with several Fortune 500 companies, Mycobond creators Gavin McIntyre and Eben Bayer hope to package the materials in a kit so that even at-home shipments can benefit from the organic molds.

But let's hope these "personal grow labs" don't attract negative attention from the feds.
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