In New York, mushroom packaging firm Ecovative Design is seeing increased demand from beauty brands seeking to reduce their plastics use amid consumer environmental concerns. “Mushrooms are nature’s recycling system,” Gavin McIntyre, co-founder of Ecovative Design, tells Vogue. “They’re decomposers. Mycelium grows really quickly and for the industrial process, [we’re able to grow it] in days.”
Ecovative’s packaging is also truly compostable—unlike single-use items made from polylactic acid that really only breakdown in industrial composters. Mycelium also grows into molds, so specific shapes can be easily obtained without waste.
“Multinational companies [look to] small brands once they get attention,” Dobson adds. “It helps set trends. If [smaller brand] Treaty uses Ecovative, L’Oreal starts thinking about it too.”
The company also grows mycelium for use in beauty products such as eye masks, sheet masks, and makeup sponges.