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Mycelium: the solution to beauty products’ pollution

Mycelium: the solution to beauty products’ pollution

The commitment of the beauty sector to a more sustainable production is now well known. Just remember the commitment of L’Oreal, whose main goal is to become a zero carbon emissions company by 2025. Among the other good intentions, they are committing to using only biodegradable and recycled packaging by 2030. Or let’s think of Blue Beauty, the new green movement (or better, blue) that aims at saving the oceans and preserving their ecosystem.

To date, we know that the beauty sector is among the most polluting industries in the world. The United Nations states that at least half of the plastic that is produced is usable only once and that even if it has only spread for 100 years, it will become the geological parameter to define the Anthropocene era. The styrofoam remains unsettled for about 500 years, the microplastics have invaded the oceans and now also our food and consequently our body.

A possible solution? The mycelium of mushrooms. The mycelium is found at the root of the fungi, which, by expanding, can take different forms. It is durable, flame resistant and insulating. Thanks to these precious qualities it could definitively replace both plastic and styrofoam.

Mycelium Bondage vase – courtesy of Wretched Flowers

Loney Abrams, florist, and artist, together with Johnny Stanish are owners of Wretched Flowers. The brand has already adopted mycelium for some experiments, including the Bondage vases, made in collaboration with the sustainable brand Eden. The vases are suitable for both decorative use and shipping purposes, which is an excellent result considering that a very large portion of Styrofoam is still used for shipping. Wretched Flowers sources from Ecovative Design, that has been growing mycelium in the United States, New Zealand, and Europe since 2007.

One of the most functional properties of the mycelium is its biodegradability. In fact, the product decomposes after a month even at home, a characteristic that avoids the use of special machinery for composting. Ecovative Design also uses mycelium for beauty, fashion, art products, and for technological brands.

Hudson Hemp, a farm and CBD company in the Catskill Mountains uses Ecovative-grown mycelium for packaging of Treaty beauty line.

Mycelium packaging created by Ecovative Design for Hudson Hemp’s Treaty CBDP – courtesy of Daniel Dorsa

There are many small brands that have begun to use mycelium in their products and especially in packaging. One of these is Rodrigo Garcia Alvarez, founder of Amen, a brand of vegan candles. Alvarez explained to Vogue the benefits of the mycelium and the importance of involving as many brands as possible in this ethical choice.  “The new luxury is when things are done by ethical and sustainability standards and not just by how things look”.

Amen’s mycelium packaging – courtesy of Amen Candles

 

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