Everybody knows Polyurethane foams (PU foams) from daily use: household sponges, insulation for buildings, toys and packaging for electronics are made of this material. About 3000 chemical additives make it more lasting, elastic, or flexible for any use in particular. Unfortunately, a large part of these additives has never been tested on long term consequences for human beings or nature.
While searching for a viable and natural substitute for these chemicals, two American mycologists had little to do but take a "closer" look. Mycelium, the mushrooms' root system, proved to be as functional, versatile and sturdy as artificial PU foam after submitting it to a simple cooking and drying process.
Gavin McIntyre and Eben Bayer founded Ecovative LLC in New York State and signed contracts with a furniture maker and an electronics company to provide molded foam for their packagings. They also developed insulating panels for home and commercial construction. The advantage: this mycelium foam is 100% free from chemical additives and biodegradable. When buried, it degrades in just four weeks.