First Dell, Now Ford

Last week we featured a blog about Dell using mushrooms for their cushions in the packaging of their servers. Well this week we will be talking about Ford. They have also decided to dabble with mushrooms. Evocative Design is an eco-start-up company specializing in the development of using mycelium to make biodegradable materials. They collaborated with Dell and now are working with Ford to develop a biodegradable foam made from mushrooms. This foam could potentially be used in bumpers, side doors, and dashboards, and will replace petroleum based foams and insulators.

This new breakthrough has allowed Ford to become a more sustainable company. Not only is the mycelium material eco-friendly, but it is also cost effective, fireproof, waterproof, and will decompose in about a month when it has reached the end of its life. Ford plans on using Evocative’s mycelium material to outfit every car in the near future. They have also started to explore other environmentally friendly options including cooked chicken feathers, algae, and wheat straw. Ford has rigorous goals to make their vehicles more green and plan on replacing 30 pounds of plastic per car.

Mold Turns Eco-Friendly

Dell has become a company that is dedicated to finding green alternatives for their packaging. They have announced that they will be using mushrooms as part of their cushioning for their server packaging. The brilliance behind using mushrooms is they are grown, not manufactured. This allows less energy to be used to produce the packaging. Mushrooms are also more dense, meaning they can support the weight of Dell’s servers and they can be grown quickly. The end result is an eco-friendly alternative for packaging that consumers can compost. Dell has already experimented with bamboo packaging in 2009 and will combine it with the new mushroom based packaging.

The process of conducting such a sustainable creation for packaging is very interesting. It is a fairly short process, lasting between 5 and 10 days. It starts out using agricultural waste products, mainly cotton. The cotton hulls are placed in mold and then implanted with mushroom spawn. It then develops into a root structure of a mushroom. They have tested and retested this new development in sustainable packaging and will pilot run it with its PowerEdge 710 server. If this test is proven to be a success, they will expand the mushroom packaging to their other servers.

Dell has many goals in becoming a more sustainable company. They plan to eliminate 20 million pounds of packaging material by 2012 and make sure packaging is recyclable. They have made an extraordinary accomplishment by finding a green alternative for their packaging. Dell also keeps working hard everyday, looking for other ways to reduce their carbon footprint and be a more environmentally friendly company.