Ikea is considering shipping furniture with eco-friendly ‘Mushroom Packaging’ instead of Styrofoam

How do you say “fungi” in Swedish?

As part of an ongoing effort to reduce its carbon footprint, Swedish flat-pack furniture purveyor Ikea is reportedly exploring alternatives to polystyrene packaging foam. Specifically, Ikea is considering using a fully biodegradable packaging grown organically from mycelium, a natural part of the mushroom plant.

Mycelium is the name of the specific roots of the fungus that allow it to grow as a system of branched fibers out of the soil where it is planted. If the mycelium is encouraged to grow around clean agricultural waste (like corn stalks), the fibers bind to each other and to the waste product in order to create a solid shape. Drying the fungus stops further growth and the spread of spoils, so the packaging can be used as a finished, safe product instead of a hungry biohazard. And because the growth process can be guided and controlled, mycelium packaging can be completely customized to any shape or design.

ikea considers Ecovative Mushroom Packaging for eco-friendly solution
Ecovative
Ecovative

Ikea is already in conversations with Ecovative, the New York-based firm that invented its own Mushroom Packaging in 2006 and already manufactures it for big name customers like Dell. Mushroom packaging grown from mycelium is completely biodegradable in a compost system or even in a garden or backyard. Compared to the thousands of years it takes for polystyrene to decompose in landfills, eco-friendly decomposition is a big benefit of mushroom packaging.

Environmentalists hope that the positive publicity Ikea gets from making a move towards green packaging will be enough to justify the high costs of many eco-friendly trash disposal solutions. Ikea has already announced many steps they will take in an effort to be more environmentally responsible, including serving vegetarian meatballs in addition to their classic Swedish style because of the dangerous greenhouse gas emissions from meat processing. Despite the fact that Ikea hasn’t officially announced they’ll switch to Mushroom Packaging anytime soon, making the change will definitely help boost their commitment to environmentalism.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Gaming

Find all of the secret exits and world skips in 'New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe'

New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe has two distinct Mario experiences in one package. In this guide, we'll show you how to find all of the secret exits in New Super Mario Bros. U, that lead to hidden levels and let you skip worlds.
Home Theater

Banish the bunny ears (and monthly bills) with these excellent HD antennas

When transitioning away from cable and satellite, finding the best HDTV antenna for your area can be touch. To help, we've compiled our picks of the best indoor HDTV antennas you can buy.
Computing

Need to combine a PDF? Here's how to get it done on both Windows and Mac

Sometimes juggling multiple files at once is more of a hassle than a convenience, especially when a single file would do. This quick guide will teach you how to combine PDF files on Windows, MacOS, or with online tools.
Smart Home

Thinking of buying an Instant Pot? Here's what you need to know

The Instant Pot is a powerful kitchen appliance that does everything from pressure cook to to slow cook to steam. Heck, you can even make yogurt in it. Here's all you need to know about the magic device.
Smart Home

Want a smarter home? Ditch the keys with these great smart locks

A good smart lock should offer a combination of security and convenience. Fortunately, these devices keep your home protected, your family safe, and your belongings secure from possible intruders.
Smart Home

Busted: Facebook Portal gets 5-star reviews from company employees

It's fair to say that Facebook's Portal smart display received a tepid response at launch, so it was something of a surprise to see lots of glowing reviews of the device on Amazon. Turns out some were written by Facebook workers.
Smart Home

The best sous vide machines cook your food perfectly, every single time

Want to make four-star meals from the comforts of your own kitchen? Here are the best sous vide machines available right now, whether you prefer simple immersion circulators or something more complex.
Smart Home

Idaho mother says her child’s light-up sippy cup exploded

After a mother filled a Nuby insulated light-up cup with milk, the cup allegedly exploded. The incident caused burns to the mother's hand and face and a stinging sensation in her lungs that required a trip to the hospital.
Smart Home

Project Alias is a ‘smart parasite’ that stops smart speakers from listening

Two designers chose to do something about nosy smart speakers. The result is Project Alias, a "smart parasite" that whispers nonsense to Google Home and Alexa until it hears a specific wake word.
Smart Home

DS3 Clean water-free swatches could be the future of cleaning products

DS3 Clean swatches were on display at CES 2019. The small swatches come in several types, including shampoo and toilet cleaner. They're great for travel, but their real impact is in how such supplies will be shipped and stored.
Smart Home

Amazon patents a technology to help Alexa fight fake voice attacks

Amazon filed a patent this month for a new technology that looks like it would help its digital assistant Alexa fight fake voice attacks that could potentially fool Alexa's biometric security protocols.
Smart Home

Amazon Prime members number more than 100 million in the U.S., survey says

Consumer Intelligence Research Partners estimated there were 101 million U.S. Amazon Prime members as of December 31, 2018. Last April, CEO Jeff Bezos wrote there were more than 100 global million Prime members.
Smart Home

The Instant Pot Lux is a gateway drug into the pleasures of pressure cooking

The 3-quart Instant Pot Lux is one of the most affordable Instant Pots you can buy. Is it still a solid pressure cooker? Here are our thoughts on the Instant Pot Lux, a great IP baseline model.