Can Eben Bayer's Waste-Based Packing Material Create a Sustainable Shipping Industry?

Would you pack up a family heirloom in a box lined with seed husks and mushroom spores? Eben Bayer, the 26-year-old CEO and chief innovator at Ecovative Design, thinks so. Bayer's biodegradable packing materials are tough, cheap and renewable, putting Ecovative on a collision course with Styrofoam, the unrivaled king of the packing materials.

The spotlight on Ecovative Design is growing faster than the mushrooms they turn into packing material. It was only two months ago that Planet Forward featured Ecovative's unique method of growing packing materials from fast-growing mushroom spores.

Ecovative was a hit on the Planet Forward website, and readers were left wanting more of these funky fungus fabricators. Readers were surprised by how quickly Ecovative grew the packing materials. They even tossed a few questions and comments at the project's young creators.

Now the engineers at Ecovative play a starring role in Planet Forward's most recent Nightly Business Review segment. I made a return trip to the Ecovative production facility to check up on Eben Bayer, Ecovative's 26-year-old CEO and chief innovator. Bayer points out that his main goal is still to be achieved: moving Ecovative into the $20 billion a year packing material industry by ridding the world of Styrofoam.