Styrofoam is a real problem. As it is biologically inert, it never really goes away but just breaks into smaller pieces, filling the landfills, permeating the food chain and clogging up the ocean. However, there is an alternative: mushrooms. I was recently excited by a story in the NewYorker about a couple of ambitious entrepreneurs who have rethought styrofoam with environmental consciousness as their top priority. After noticing that mycelium (the vegetative part of fungus) has the ability to bind materials together, Eben Bayer and Gavin McIntyre developed a system by which agricultural waste (such as cotton hulls, oat hulls, rice husks) can be combined with the mycelium to create a styrofoam-like product in any shape you like. Totally biodegradable, this invention could revolutionize packaging and building materials, turning packing peanuts into stuffed mushrooms.