The BFI has just named New York-based Ecovative Design as their top prize winner for the prestigious 2013 Buckminster Fuller Challenge. The company will receive $100,000 to further develop their groundbreaking mushroom material that provides an earth-friendly alternative to conventional plastics. Eben Bayer, Gavin McIntyre, and the rest of the team behind the new class of home-compostable biomaterials will receive their award at the Cooper Union in New York City on November 18, 2013.
In line with Buckminster Fuller’s commitment to advocating change through design, Ecovative uses the power of living organisms to create an alternative to conventional packaging. The six-year-old business developed their cost-competitive technology to disrupt the status quo of unpredictable and irresponsible waste streams that pollute the environment. The feedstock for the mushroom material can serve as a source of income for farmers as it is grown on their agricultural waste. Intended for temporary use, the material breaks down in compost and landfills instead of persisting for generations.
“We answered the Buckminster Fuller Challenge because we believe in the power of our people to make a real, positive impact. Today, Ecovative looks forward to further answering Bucky’s challenge, as we continue to innovate mycological biomaterials and reach an ideal state, with social and environmental considered equally with economics,” said Ecovative co-founder and Chief Scientist, Gavin McIntyre.
Ecovative is in partnership with the Sealed Air Corporation, who grow their own products in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Sealed Air is the only license holder in Europe and North America, and Ecovative hopes to pursue sales to other geographic regions. With the help of mycelium, their efforts have the potential to make toxic and persistent oil-based materials obsolete and radically change the way industry impacts the environment.