Innovative Materials: Mushroom Packaging

Innovation isn't limited to traditional technology at Dell. We're examining the impact of every step of a product's lifecycle to determine what we can improve. This includes the packaging your product arrives in.

As we strive to deliver zero-waste packaging, nature provides an excellent template. By growing (yes, growing) cushions made from mushrooms, we are taking a circular approach to our design, turning agricultural waste into an alternative to petroleum-based foams for select shipments.

mushroom packaging

evolution  The mushroom bioscience is based in using common agricultural waste products. Cotton hulls, rice hulls or wheat chaff are placed in a mold and injected with mushroom spawn. Five to ten days later, the mushroom root structure completes its growth, having utilized the energy inherent in the agricultural waste instead of external energy sources like petroleum. The final product is kiln dried and used to cushion heavier shipments. The material looks and acts similar to petroleum-based foams – only this is organic, biodegradable and can be used as compost or mulch.
Corporate Responsibility Report
FY16 Progress Points 
BulletIncreased the percentage of packaging using sustainable materials to 72 percent, up from 66 percent in FY15 
BulletIn FY16, 93 percent of packaging material by weight was sourced from sustainable materials 
BulletSee the CSR Report highlights 
BulletDownload the FY16 CSR Report