This Beautiful Carbon-Neutral “Leather” Is Grown From Mushrooms
“It looks and feels like leather, and it’s the size of a cowhide. But a new sample of material at a startup’s office in San Francisco came from mushrooms, not a factory farm. In a year or two, you might be wearing it on your feet.
MycoWorks, the startup, uses mycelium–the root-like fibers that make up the base of mushrooms–to transform plant waste into the new material. “They’re breaking down the cellulose, and they reorganize those sugars and proteins,” says Philip Ross, Chief Technology Officer at MycoWorks.
The cowhide-sized sample took a couple of weeks to grow, versus the three years it would take to raise livestock for a piece of leather. No animals suffered to make it. And while livestock requires massive resources, the mushroom process happens in a closed loop. A pair of leather shoes might produce 33 pounds of carbon dioxide pollution; the mushroom “leather” is carbon neutral.”
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