Gift wrapped mushrooms!

Posted on 31 May 2019.

In Bulgaria, the start-up Biomyc is developing a natural green packaging material, using the root structure of mushrooms and crop waste. A circular alternative that limits the use of polystyrene.

The Bulgarian start-up is still working on proving its process and wants to test its technology under industrial conditions.

Limiting single-use plastic products has become one of the European Union's priorities. Straws, cutlery, Q-tips and other disposable plastic products will be banned in all member countries by 2022. Recently another plastic pollutant has been targeted by environmental watchdogs: polystyrene. Every year, 14 million metric tons is used in packaging – just once. The result? Large quantities of polystyrene are floating on the surface of our oceans.

In Bulgaria, the biotechnology start-up Biomyc, discovered a circular economy inspired sustainable alternative. It has developed a new environmentally friendly and biodegradable material using the root structure of mushrooms, a 100% natural material.

The start-up collects organic and crop waste - such as straw and corn husks - from local sources. Once the waste has been sterilized, the mushroom mycelium - the root part – is injected into it. The mixture is placed in large molds in the dark. Over the next few days, the mycelium naturally begins feeding on the organic waste. It develops an extensive network of white fibers that intertwine in the biomass to form a solid, compact material which is then removed from the molds and heated to stop any further growth.

The result is a highly resistant material that Biomyc uses for green packaging and containers. What about at the end of its life? In the laboratory, the material biodegrades in a period ranging from 50 to 75 days. A very promising ecological alternative from which to develop new sustainable packaging products.


The Eurovision of start-ups

The Bulgarian start-up is still working on proving its process and in particular wants to test its technology under industrial conditions. This would allow it to produce large quantities of material to supply a wide range of customers. The company was particularly delighted with its first pilot order of green packaging materials from a local wine producer.

Proof of its great potential, Biomyc has already won several awards. The company won an award in Sofia in 2018, at the StartUp Europe Awards - a kind of Eurovision contest for start-ups that identifies the best European start-ups in eighteen categories such as water, health, nutrition and the climate.

Biomyc was also a finalist in the [email protected] contest in Frankfurt in 2018 for companies with innovative projects, particularly in the field of sustainable energy and resources.