Mushroom-root Styrofoam replacement wins Lebanon Student Startup competition

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In Lebanon, a team from Holy Spirit University of Kaslik is set to compete in a global competition for $1 million in seed capital for Mushtic, their biobased material with similar shock absorbance and insulating properties to Styrofoam.

The group, which will head to London to compete for the Hult Prize Global Accelerator prize, was selected from among 1,000 participating in the recent Lebanon Student Startup Forum.

The team tells The Daily Star they were inspired to create Mushtic as a solution to Lebanon’s waste crisis. “At last year’s startup weekend at USEK, they told us every opportunity starts with a problem, so we thought of pollution and the garbage crisis in Lebanon,” CEO and co-founder Rayanne Beayno tells the paper. “Now, what’s the worst kind of plastic? Styrofoam. So we researched and we found out that if we mix agricultural waste with mushroom roots we have a texture that resembles Styrofoam.”