Written by Shaweta Saini
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Undoubtedly, efforts to boost environment awareness  have increased in the past few years, and such efforts have resulted in new products designed to cut energy costs and reduce pollution. Evocative Design, a startup company based in Nework, is one such company. Eben Bayer and Gavin McIntyre, both graduates of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, founded the company in 2007 and since then it has seen prodigious success. By replacing non-compostable items such as plastics with entirely natural materials, Evocative hopes to make sustainable products cost-effective so that they can be widely used. Their most recent product – compostable car parts made out of mushrooms – has earned a variety of accolades, and the company has teamed up with Ford to supply the car company with organic foams and insulators to make their cars more compostable.

 Evocative has designed biodegradable car parts – such as bumpers, side doors, and dashboards – made out of mushrooms and other agricultural products such as corn husks. The mushrooms act as an important binding tool: the magic ingredient is mycelium, the root system of mushrooms. Mycelium binds the agricultural products together, resulting in a fireproof foam material that is then used to make the car parts. Once the car has lived out its useful life, the car parts are then buried in the soil and can take up to one month to decompose fully. Ford Motor Company is especially interested in Evocative’s creations, as it is seeking to replace 30 pounds of petroleum-based foam components of their cars with sustainable products. Such compostable car parts are especially important due to the world’s increasing pollution: by providing an environmentally-safe option, Evocative hopes to lessen the amount of contamination and waste. Furthermore, unlike other ‘green’ products, mycelium foam is not more expensive than regular petroleum-based foam: its low-cost is appealing to companies such as Ford, not to mention the fact that it helps get rid of local agricultural waste by using it in a productive manner. 
 
Though it is a relatively new company, Evocative hopes to  eventually stand as a formidable opponent against the vast plastics and Styrofoam industries. Already they have received a variety of accolades, such as being listed in the Technology Pioneers of 2011. Now, they are setting their sights on finding more innovative uses for mycelium. Evocative’s car parts are universally important: even the common consumer can afford to buy them and use them in his or her car, and dispose of it in an environmentally-friendly manner once finished with the product. Although its environmental effects are obvious, the car parts also have the potential to strike a blow into the Styrofoam industry as they serve as a low-cost and low-energy alternative to petroleum-based foam. Only time will tell if their success will be long-lasting.


 


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