Ford Auto Parts Made of Mushrooms, Rather Than Plastic

Ford Auto Parts Made of Mushrooms, Rather Than Plastic

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Ecovative's innovative mushroom packaging Eben Bayer of Ecovative has just announced a new partnership with Ford to create compostable car parts from mushrooms.

Instead of wasting an enormous amount of energy and oil to make plastic or styrofoam, the New York-based start-up uses agricultural waste to create biodegradable parts and packing materials.

The fungus-based parts for Ford — automotive bumpers, side doors and dashboards — will be fireproof and waterproof. Best of all, if buried in soil they would decompose within one month.

His 26-year-old co-founder and chief scientist, Gavin McIntyre, says, “You would be able to compost your car.”

Ford, which already uses soy-based foam for seat cushions, wants to replace about 30 pounds of petroleum-based foam per car with eco-friendly alternatives.

The positive effects of biodegradable materials on our environment would be huge. Every time a consumer discards the white packing material cushioning their new TVs and computers, 1.5 liters of petroleum are wasted (per cubic foot of styrofoam.) This white stuff is filling our landfills, comprising fully 25 percent of materials dumped there, according to the EPA.

Computer-maker Dell, with its goal of eliminating 20 million pounds of packaging material from its shipments by the end of 2012, announced this week that it will use Ecovative’s mushroom-based packaging to ship a line of its computer servers. In 2009, the company began using bamboo to cushion some of their electronics.

The eco-friendly packing material is just as sturdy as traditional foam, says Dell — and just as economical, according to Ecovative. Visit their website for more information: www.EcovativeDesign.com.

READ more in CNN-Money and  WATCH the Planet Forward video to see how mushroom parts are made.

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