The next big-screen television or laptop you order may not arrive in a cardboard box stuffed with Styrofoam cubes.
Instead, it might ship in packaging that's, well, alive. (At least during production.)
Over at our sister site SmartPlanet, the chief executive of Ecovative Design describes a product that won't sit in a landfill for thousands of years once you toss it in the trash.
It's called EcoCradle, and despite the happy green name, it's a savvy way for companies to engineer better packaging for their gadgets -- without the downstream side effects. The product is made from mycelium, derived from mushrooms, and it's strong enough to keep your new toy safe without sticking around longer than the tech manufacturer that made it.
Now, the company's looking toward bigger and better applications, such as automobiles, office furniture and wine. If it's good enough for a bottle of Barolo, it's good enough for a Samsung plasma TV, right?
Ecovative: The new plastic is made from mushrooms [SmartPlanet]
Update: Ecovative environmental director Sam Harrington reached out to reassure folks about the "living" aspect. He writes: "The last step of our manufacturing process for EcoCradle is to stop the growth (kill it) so it's not actually alive when it is used as packaging. It is alive and grows during manufacturing however. This is important, because it won't ever grow into your product, sprout mushrooms, or produce spores."