This Sci-Fi-Esque Contraption Turns Your Plastic Trash Into Edible Treats

There’s a reason many places have separate trash cans for discarding your plastic waste — that useful substance is also incredibly difficult to breakdown, but this prototype aims to eliminate the problem while solving another minor issue, usually referred to as world hunger.

Urbanist reports that this incubator uses a fungi farm to convert sterilized plastic trash into an edible, nutritional biomass fit for human consumption. In layman’s terms, it uses fungi to turn plastic into food. The texture and taste of the food produced varies based on the strain of fungus.

The sci-fi-esque contraption, currently dubbed the Fungi Mutarium, is now a working model created by innovative Austrian design group Livin Studio, mostly known for their work on insect farms. The Mutarium takes bits of uneaten mushrooms to encompass the plastic waste and grow into fresh snacks, given a few weeks’ time.

To help understand how the remarkable, stylish Fungi Mutarium works, watch the video below (story continues below video):

From the creator’s description of the product:

We were working with fungi named Schizophyllum Commune and Pleurotus Ostreatus. They are found throughout the world and can be seen on a wide range of timbers and many other plant-based substrates virtually anywhere in Europe, Asia, Africa, the Americas and Australia. Next to the property of digesting toxic waste materials, they are also commonly eaten. As the fungi break down the plastic ingredients and don’t store them, like they do with metals, they are edible.

Fungi Mutarium is a prototype that grows edible fungal biomass, mainly the mycelium, as a novel food product. Fungi is cultivated on specifically designed agar shapes that the designers called FU.  Agar is a seaweed based gelatin substitute and acts, mixed with starch and sugar, as a nutrient base for the fungi. The FUs are filled with plastics. The fungi is then inserted, it digests the plastic and overgrows the whole substrate. The shape of the FU is designed so that it holds the plastic and to offer the fungi a lot of surface to grow on.

Let’s hope the Fungi Mutarium won’t take too long in getting the markets, thus conclusively solving those pesky pollution and world hunger problems.