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Dell experiments with mushrooms

We always knew that Michael Dell was a fungi, but caps off to him and his crew for adopting new eco-friendly packaging based on….mushrooms.

As part of Dell’s sustainable packaging strategy, Dell will start shipping some of its equipment in mushroom cushioning, wrote Oliver Campbell, Dell procurement director on the Direct2Dell blog.

Developed by the the National Science Foundation, the US EPA, and the USDA, mushroom cushioning is a unique packaging technology, Dell explained.

With it, “waste product like cotton hulls are placed in a mold which is then inoculated with mushroom spawn. Our cushions take 5 – 10 days to grow as the spawn, which become the root structure – or by the scientific name, mycelium – of the mushroom. All the energy needed to form the cushion is supplied by the carbohydrates and sugars in the ag waste. There’s no need for energy based on carbon or nuclear fuels.”

The new mushroom-based packaging is but Dell’s latest advance in earth-friendly packaging. The company already uses bamboo packaging, in which it ships select laptops and tablets. But mushroom-based packaging is better suited to heavier products like servers and desktops, the company said.

What will be the first product to ship swaddled in fungus? The PowerEdge R710 server. The company claimed it has tested the packaging extensively to ensure that it can ensure safe shipments, “and it passed like a champ.”

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