Every first Tuesday of the month, few Amsterdam based organizations organize a meeting about sustainability. Every time a different aspect of theme of this matter are discussed by a small but interested group of people, mainly professionals and students.
Yesterday I attended one of these meeting and the subject was "sustainable materials".
You might ask yourself at this point, what this have to do with mushrooms and moulds? Well, actually NOTHING!
I attended the meeting hoping to have a revelation and discover revolutionary materials infected by bacteria and viruses. This didn't happen; however I learned other interesting things I'd like to share here.
Els Zijlstra, Director of dutch company Materia gave a short but comprehensive presentation on new innovative materials available at the moment, with special attention to sustainable and ecological materials available nowadays on the market. Unfortunately the website doesn't offer yet a search category for ecological and/or sustainable materials; however there is a high interest in it and this function will be soon integrated in the website of Materia.
Some interesting examples have been mentioned:
Duralmond, composite material obtained (MAINLY) from crushed almond shells mixed with resins; the material is biodegradable and recyclable, however it's not clear if and how much chemicals are involved in the process.
Another funny example is Gumnetic, a material made from recycled chewing gum! Designer Anna Bullus developed this new material from chewing gum and bio resin that has unique properties and characteristics. Probably the Cradle to Cradle followers would say that this is just about extending the life os a product and not a "real" sustainable solution. Reusing not recycling!
The main questions were indeed: What is a real sustainable material? Why a material that contains synthetic components can be defined ecological? Is recycling a solution or just a temporary one?
Well, it seems lots still need to be done in this field but many people, designers, producers and experts are interested and committed to these issues.
We keep our hope for the future and we'll keep on looking for innovative solutions.