E-commerce sales are expected to double between 2016 and 2020. This means that extraordinarily high numbers of cardboard boxes are being shipped and finding their way into landfills. Mycoremediation is a form of bioremediation, the process of using fungi to degrade or sequester contaminants in the environment.
What it does
Allows cardboard to be used as a medium for mushrooms to grow in landfills, and thus accelerates the time necessary for cardboard boxes to decompose.
How I built it
We decided on a sticker as a vehicle for the mushroom spores with a non-toxic adhesive so that it could be a simple addition at the end of the cardboard box assembly process.
Challenges I ran into
At first we were trying to think of a way we could infuse the cardboard boxes with spores, but this process would be too complex in that machinery would need to be produced, assembly lines would need to drastically change, etc. Stickers as a medium for the spores to attach to prevent any major issues with production alterations.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
This product would be very affordable for both small companies and large companies, and even the average Joe to stick on their cardboard boxes. In other words, this would be feasible for anyone to add to their packages that would minimize landfill influx and even benefit soil microbial communities by detoxifying and amending the soil.
What I learned
What's next for Spore Sticker
Developing a prototype of a spore sticker. We want to be able to experimentally test the design of the sticker, different fungal species, and implement it with cardboard boxes in order to collect data.