Ikea Moves To Mushroom-Based Packaging

Leading the way in what could be a trend towards more eco-friendly packaging, Ikea has recently announced their intention to transition from polystyrene to an organic, mushroom-based packaging for its flat-pack furniture.

This proposed mushroom packages is made from mycelium, or rather mushroom roots. Already known for its use as a biobased building material, mycelium is beneficial because it grows quickly into a dense material, which can then be easily moulded into custom shaped packaging.

The mycelium grows quickly into a dense material. Once it has reached its desired size and density, it is dehydrated to stop its growth. In addition to being easy to produce, mycelium can also be easily moulded to produce different shapes for packaging for different items.

And of course, the lifecycle of the material also plays a role. Joanna Yarrow, head of sustainability for Ikea told the Telegraph that Ikea was looking at introducing mycelium packaging because “a lot of products come in polystyrene, traditionally, which can’t be – or is very difficult to – recycle.” Indeed, as a biobased material, mycelium can be merely left outside to decompose when it has reached the end of its life as packaging. By contrast, polystyrene is notoriously difficult to recycle, taking thousands of years to decompose on its own.

Ikea confirmed it was looking at working with Ecovative, an US based company who are leaders in the field for innovating with mushroom materials. We have a number of Ecovative’s innovative mushroom materials in our collection, which you can explore here and here.


Els Zijlstra