Gallery: Life Box: Paul Stamets Unveils Brilliant Seed-Sprouting Cardbo...


Just think – what if all the cardboard boxes that you receive when you buy online from Amazon or Apple had seeds in them and you could simply put them in your nearest plot of soil and grow some baby trees? Well that is just what the incredible mycologist and mycomimicry advocate Paul Stamets has done by releasing the Life Box™. It can be made to virtually any dimension, does not increase the cost of shipping, and the tree seed mix has been approved by the Department of Agriculture for planting in every state in the continental United States (not Hawaii), and Canada. It’s so smart that Al Gore, who is always ahead of the curve, decided to ship his new book ‘Our Choice‘ in them!

If you do the math it is quite impressive what one could achieve with this clever box: a 1-2% share of the cardboard box market in the United States could cover up to 25,000 acres of land per week! Of the hundreds of tree seeds in each box, if only one survives for 30 years, approximately one ton of carbon will be sequestered. Therefore, the potential for coverage by trees coming from Life Boxes™ expands from 25,000 acres to 25,000,000 acres per week.

Paul Stamets says “the Life Box™ is a form of social as well as ecological currency and a shovel ready do-it-yourself climate change solution“. Planting trees also provides more shade for buildings to reduce the use of air-conditioning, helps the soil hold more moisture, preserves aquifers and even prevents flooding in cities as Andy Lipkis has demonstrated in LA. The Life Box™ is manufactured in the United States using recycled cardboard and soy-based inks. So what are you waiting for? Go plant one today!

+ Life Box


or your inhabitat account below


  1. lfpUplittimigjt May 27, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    You completed various fine points there. I did a search on the subject and found mainly folks will consent with your blog.

  2. Cerittelli January 26, 2011 at 4:34 am

    Hack again?!

  3. NoseIcenceJus December 29, 2010 at 8:18 am

    Совершенно верно! Идея отличная, согласен с Вами.

  4. Rapeattiday December 28, 2010 at 7:41 am


  5. FanyYang October 19, 2010 at 11:15 am

    супер портал Escortguide предлагает – эскорт сервис, выберите то что по душе, лучшие услуги без накладок, Escortguide работает для Вас! С сайтом сотрудничают все элитные представительства – только хорошие отзывы.

  6. Skycraper Farm Recycles... August 17, 2010 at 9:37 am

    […] it reaches the consumer, it will be laced with tiny seeds – much like Paul Stamets’ Life Box concept. Then, when those boxes and packages are collected as trash, they will be taken to […]

  7. ForestMan July 21, 2010 at 11:17 pm

    Again, another incredibly good idea for an accessable, accountable and affordable (enough aliteration… right) response to environmental degradation from P Stamets.
    How about a family salad garden box next?

  8. perfectcirclecarpenter July 17, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    I’d like to recommend printing illustrations of the various trees that could sprout, in a decorative style , along with simpler instructions on how to plant… for example, couldn’t the cardboard be used as a weed screen, and could you put a layer of compost on top? By the time the compost has turned to soil, with worms penetrating the cardboard, the seeds should have made it through a winter and be ready to sprout with spring rain. But maybe I’m used to anything and everything willing to grow in Mississippi.

  9. inodsedge July 8, 2010 at 8:01 am

    Inseparable feels at earlier that he wrote a people prosperously versed in this point

  10. MycoKat July 6, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    Hi everybody, I think these concerns are valid, and have all been addressed in the creation of the Life Box. Speaking on behalf of the Life Box company and Planted Planet Productions, we have done much research in the way of creating our species mixes. We have obtained all of our seed permits from states the regulate movement of tree seed, been approved for export to Canada, and all of the species we use are non-invasive. The species used in our mix are appropriate for planting throughout the continental U.S. and Canada, as there are at least two species in each mix that are native to each general region of the U.S. and Canada. We make an obvious effort to only include species that are native to the U.S. and Canada, but I think it’s interesting that people say to only include tree species from each specific region. I would like to bring up horticulture and agirculture here. Trees are much less of a worry for invasive potential, than flowers or agricultural crops. It is interesting when we look at species movement by humans, yes some can be disastrous without proper foresight, and others extremely beneficial (think of the many veggies we grow in our gardens that never grew native here, and flowers we love that would never be here without humans, not to mention medicine plants, dye plants and so on). Species movement isn’t always wrong, it’s just how we go about it and our responsibilities and foresight associated with that movement.

    To quell fears about the Life Box getting into Hawaii…all wholesale purchasers of the Life Box legally agree to never ship to Hawaii or outside of the continental U.S. and Canada. Furthermore, all Life Boxes produced after April 2010 have a statement on the bottom stating they should not be shipped outside of the contintenal U.S. and Canada and are not to be shipped to Hawaii. Hawaii has an extremely stringent inspection program to boot.

    It is also important to remember that the Life Box is not meant to replace other reforestation/afforestation efforts, by any means. Rather, it is a tool to help green a broken and unsustainable packaging industry. Growing trees from cardboard packaging uses less energy than it would to recycle it (and in some places there are no resources for recycling them!), and replaces the trees (and then some) that were used to create that box. Whether or not the Life Box exists, there is still going to be the dilemma of surplus packaging, and we are trying to change this system from within. The Life Box is one “prong” to a “multi-pronged” approach for reforestation.

    The Life Box also acts as a social currency. By this, I mean that if you don’t want to plant the Life Box, or don’t have room, you can always offer it to a teacher (for use in their classroom), or a neighbor, friend, family member, ANYONE!, who might be interested in trying it out. It’s fun! And kids totally dig it.

    All Life Boxes come with an instruction sheet and refer the recipient to our website ( where species information and detailed instructions can be found. Please take a look at our FAQ page seed information . I’m glad people have these concerns! It shows you care about the environment…just as we do.

  11. greenuser July 5, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    I have a couple of suggestions:

    “Do Not Use for storage” should be printed on the boxes.

    Use native seed mixes for their corresponding regions.

  12. kapauldo July 5, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    (posted to pikk) Useful or Useless? Life Box: Seed-Sprouting Cardboard Box [POLL] –

  13. Auntie Ir0ny July 5, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Trees are lovely, but harder to find an appropriate space. Why not a smaller edible plant? Something a kid could put in a windowbox. Carrots, spinach– would they be less likely to become invasive?

  14. registrationsux July 5, 2010 at 5:06 am

    From info on their website it looks like they chose seeds which would only grow in certain climates. I’d guess this is how they plan to prevent species invasion.

  15. Richyrich July 4, 2010 at 11:46 pm

    Come on, don’t be scared, were talking trees here, not weeds seeds. You can buy hundreds of types of trees that are not native at your local garden center.

  16. jdockstader July 4, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    I’m all for planting trees but why not just plant them. I’d rather not have cardboard boxes strewn everywhere rotting so we can get the seeds planted. There would be massive waste in seedings sprouting where they won’t grow (parking lots), aren’t wanted (highway medians) or when the box is recycled. Not to mention what happens when the box is stored for reuse.

  17. LIFE BOX - Brilliant, S... July 3, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    […] Brilliant mycologist cum designer Paul Stamets has come up with a design that does just that: his Life Box is a cardboard box impregnated with seeds that can be planted in the ground when it is done being […]

  18. 1129whippetlover July 3, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    As a Master Gardener of Washington State, I have some reservations about this. Some species shouldn\’t be shipped to particular areas as unwanted non native plants are not welcome. Some more thought is wanted to make this work. Its a bit to touchy-feely without enough thinky thinky!

  19. philiptdotcom July 2, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    This sounds incredibly SCARY to me. What species are included? What possible species would be acceptable to plant in ALL CONTINENTAL U.S. areas? Even if the species itself is native to a particular area, what about mixing of far-distant genetic material? Who’s stopping people from shipping these to Hawaii?

    AND WHO’S TO SAY PEOPLE WON’T INCLUDE WEEDY SPECIES (either intentionally or accidentally) IN THESE PACKAGES?


  20. haddonuff July 2, 2010 at 10:56 am

    What happens if the package get left out in the rain? :)

  21. boundincells July 2, 2010 at 12:40 am

    I’ve been waiting for these to become a reality since the TED Talk.

get the free Inhabitat newsletter

Submit this form
popular today
all time
most commented
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
Federated Media Publishing - Home