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Ecovative Design: wiping out polystyrene with fungus and farm waste

Eben Bayer is on a mission: he wants simply to eradicate the polystyrene packaging industry. The trouble with 1-phenylethane-1,2-diyl, as the resourceful 26-year-old entrepreneur from Vermont sees it, is that, as no known microorganism can biodegrade it, it pollutes the oceans and clutters landfills -- making up around 30 per cent of US landfills alone, according to some estimates. In the 173 years since Eduard Simon first produced polystyrene, it has become a highly lucrative by-product of the oil industry, made using a liquid hydrocarbon derived from petroleum in a process that creates millions of tonnes a year. But Bayer has a plan to change all that.

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