Global plastic waste more than doubled from 2000 to 2019 to 353 million tonnes with 40 per cent of that waste coming from packaging. Meanwhile, research suggests that 90 per cent of public sustainability claims will not be met by 2025 with the majority of companies remaining reliant on single-use packaging.
Attempting to remove plastic-based packaging entirely from global supply chains, Magical Mushroom Company offers direct replacement for polystyrene and cardboards. The UK-based startup is putting agricultural waste to work by combining it with mycelium – the root structure of a mushroom – to create a material that is biodegradable, durable and comparable in price to traditional packaging derived from fossil fuels like polystyrene.
The sustainable packaging startup has now raised £3 million in seed funding to create biodegradable packaging alternatives. Unlike other compostable packaging, the company claims its packaging breaks down naturally in the ground in around 45 days without any additional chemicals or industrial facilities.
Since its inception in 2019, the platform’s blue-chip client base of international brands includes the likes of Raymarine, BA Components, Castrads, Ffern, Selfridges, Lush, Seedlip and ID Watch.
The startup will roll out its first raw material production plant in Beeston, Nottinghamshire with the new funding. The 10,000 square foot raw material plant will be its fourth plant and will allow the company to gain control of its entire packaging manufacturing process, creating up to 15 jobs in the East Midlands.
Going forward, the startup will implement automation upgrades at its existing packaging plants in the U.K. and Bulgaria to scale production and lower costs.
Talking about harnessing the power of mushrooms, Paul Gilligan, CEO and founder said: “We have eight years to meet the UN's Sustainable Development Goals and businesses have a crucial role to play. But they need viable and cost-effective solutions that significantly reduce the carbon footprint across their entire supply chain. We’re creating value from waste and unlocking the potential of mycelium – a resource that has been untapped to date.”
Thomas Van Haren, director of MycoComposites at Ecovative Design added: “The packaging industry is ripe for change and innovative solutions must be supported so that we can move away from our reliance on fossil fuels.”