The mushroom approach
Taking a multi-faceted approach to how we think of sustainability is leading innovators to look to nature for solutions. Imagine being able to compost everyday things like packaging materials, furniture, and even your car! Perhaps not your entire car but Ecovative Design is hoping car manufacturers will be turned on to their mycelium based car parts to replace various components within the vehicles they manufacture.
Mycelium, the root system of mushrooms, can grow in any size, can be molded into countless shapes, and it is fireproof. Used in combination with feedstock and agricultural waste, the end product is fully compostable. The company aims to challenge the polystyrene and Styrofoam industry by introducing earth friendly alternatives. They already have clients in the automotive, computer manufacturing, furniture making, and various other industries. Check out Eben Bayer’s interesting TED talk for more information on his company’s philosophy and practices.
An informed consumer
The approach to developing earth-friendly alternatives to products that otherwise continue to pile up in landfills, release toxins into the air and water sources, and that aren’t easily broken down by nature will undoubtedly address various sustainability concerns. Innovators like Eben Bayer are making great strides in addressing these issues with their products but how can companies be encouraged to switch over to these alternative technologies?
While we may think that corporations have all the power, and they may to an extent, we know that informed consumers can drive change. Corporations listen and they know a bad rap will hurt their bottom line. They also know they need to be competitive to get ahead and to stay at the top. We the consumers have the ability to force corporations to re-think their manufacturing processes by hurting them where it counts, their reputation and ultimately their profit. After all, it really does come down to us, the consumers, who sustain manufacturers and therefore support their manufacturing practices with our hard earned cash.