Does Mushroom Packaging Have a Future in Logistics?
Hopkins Distribution Company helps customers of all types store, package and distribute their products to wholesalers and retailers nationwide. Start-up manufacturers of retail products benefit from partnering with distribution companies such as Hopkins, because we are experts in inventory management, order processing and logistics. One tricky element for start-ups to navigate is the overhead associated with packaging materials. Innovation and optimization are key to saving money on packaging. In this article we take a look at what role mushroom packaging might someday play in the world of warehouse distribution and logistics.
What’s Wrong with Regular Packaging Materials?
Many have taken notice that plastics, especially polystyrene foam, can take lifetimes to degrade. Closed-cell extruded polystyrene foam is better known by the name brand, Styrofoam.
“The EPA and International Agency for Research on Cancer consider styrene a possible human carcinogen,” (Wikipedia). The full effects of styrene products making their way into the food chain have yet to be determined.
According to Evocative Design, “Plastics are a leading cause of physical pollution introducing durable toxins into our environment. Most of this pollution is related to single-use materials, like Styrofoam.”
Current applications for Styrofoam include packing peanuts, corner packaging inserts and custom molds for high-value retail products such as computers, printers, etc.
Packaging Material Made from Mushrooms
Companies like Evocative Design are providing manufacturers and distributors with new biodegradable packaging materials made from agricultural waste products and mushrooms!
Some might guess that these fungus-produced packaging materials are only being used by the strictest eco-nauts of the world. The truth is far from it. Manufacturing giants such as Dell and Ikea have started using mushroom packaging.
How does Evocative do it?
In short, they create a mold with a particular shape. Then they add ground up agriculture waste and mycelium (the vegetative root structure of mushrooms) into the mold. As the mycelium grows, it binds together the ag waste substrate. They then pop out the biodegradable object, allow more mycelium to grow, and then they dry out the object to deactivate the mycelium.
Here is their mushroom packaging production process as it’s described on their site.
Another fungus pioneer, Eric Klarenbeek, uses landfill waste, bioplastics, potato starch and mycelium to 3-D print functional, weight-bearing furniture and other objects. The final object is light, strong, cork-like, fire-resistant and hydrophobic. These qualities are just what the doctor ordered when it comes to packaging materials.
We hope you’ll enjoy this video that further explains how fungus might someday help to replace destructive plastic all-together.
How Does Hopkins Help Customers with Product Packaging?
We’ve been solving packaging optimization problems since 1993. When you decide to partner with Hopkins, you aren’t just getting 99.997% accurate inventory control and real-time data sharing between links in the supply chain. You also get access to our team of logistics professionals.
We can help you optimize your packaging materials to save you money! Our team of preferred packaging vendors alongside our lightning-fast picking and packing team can do wonders for your business. We promise not to force biodegradable packaging materials on you. We’ll help you choose materials that meet the needs and goals of your business.
Give us a call at 800-655-3644 to discuss your packaging and warehouse distribution needs!