Mushroom Spores Are Going to Save the Planet

Hot darn hen of the woods!
Hot darn hen of the woods! Photo: PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images

Eben Bayer and Gavin McIntyre, the 26-year-old founders of Ecovative Design, are hoping to replace vast amounts of carcinogenic and nonrenewable polystyrene products in household products worldwide with a styro-foamy material of their own made with a benignly vegan origin story. At their Green Island, New York, factory, Bayer and McIntyre inoculate a super-goop of corn stalks and chopped-up vegetable parts with mushroom spores. “In a week to 10 days,” Bloomberg reports, “the company can grow miles of superthin, supergrippy mushroom fiber that can be molded into nearly any shape.” With a minimum of post-cultural processing, the shroom-foam can be shaped to make anything from flip-flops to file cabinets. It can also be used as home insulation, but there’s no word yet if that’ll leave your house smell like truffle oil. [Bloomberg]