The Truth Board

A Blog by the Editors of
The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

My Photo
Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Mushroom Miracle

As a species we have accomplished many wonderful things. From art, to exploration, to invention, we are curious and able to manipulate our environment. However, we have also made large mistakes on our journey to the present, some out of will, and some out of ignorance. the production of Styrofoam falls under the latter category. This product has been useful in many areas of human life, however its consequences have not been thoroughly thought out. Just because we can make a poisonous, expensive, and non-biodegradable substance, does that mean we should?
Styrofoam takes up about 25% of all landfills, making it the number one perpetrator of solid pollution. The reason is that it has such a short life of use, and is produced at a tremendous rate. It serves its purpose of boxing in a T.V. or refrigerator, and then becomes trash. In water, Styrofoam breaks down so that it is impossible to clean up and hazardous for marine life. On land or sea, a piece of Styrofoam has never done any good to any organism. Even if Styrofoam were easily and safely disposable, this would still be a problem. It takes 1.5 lts of petroleum to produce a square foot of the material, and using such a precious resource for such a wasteful material simply does not make sense. From start to finish Styrofoam is a bad idea, but we clearly have a use for it, so what are we to do?
A company called Ecovative Design has invented a contender to the Styrofoam institution. Their new product is called Mycrobond, and it is made up of mycelium, which is the root structure of mushrooms. Mycrobond assembles itself using food waste such as rice stalks and cornhusks. Once molds are set, roots are placed inside and left in a dark room for 3 days, after which the product is ready for use. There are absolutely no byproducts and when Mycrobond’s use is done it can be crushed onto any ground and will actually improve the quality of the soil. Instead of tossing waste into a bin to be picked up, imagine using used packaging products on potted plants, a home garden, or anywhere things grow. Mycrobond is cheap, easy to produce and has many uses, from acoustics to insulation. Mycrobond could be the healthy plastic of the future, used for more things than we can imagine today.
But this one victory in sustainable living practices is just that, one victory. Although Mycrobond has the potential to change many production markets, it is part of the larger concept of redeveloping what we think we have already developed. As individual consumers we need to support products that are zero waste, and with each purchase we cast our vote. The goals of this century are not the same as those of the past, and the culture of over consumption and disposable living are ending whether we like it or not. This is not something to be detested, but embraced as we have a last opportunity to reconnect with the millions of organisms that have made our existence possible. We need to stop thinking of our environment as a separate entity that we can abuse endlessly, and rather recognize that our species and the planet are one, the only difference between us is that one can live without the other.

-Sean M.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home