mykor uk

Mykor is a biotechnology and design company which has at its core digital design and bio-fabrication inspired by nature. We strive for a cross-disciplinary approach combining design, biology and technology, to create a limited series of objects with a unique aesthetic.  

Our fabrication technique involves the use of 3D printing, alongside mycology to inoculate and propagate mycelium on urban wood waste from Kent.  

We source our wood waste from the Medway council and local sawmills. The council's waste is a result of cleaning urban green areas and it would otherwise be discarded, incinerated or used as a fertiliser.

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This material cycle of production comprehends:

  • Collection of wood waste and mushroom spores.Wood pasteurisation and addition of natural dyes. 
  • Inoculation of the wood waste in sterile lab conditions.
  • Addition of natural dyes after wood pasteurisation.
  • After a week to two weeks, depending on the volume of the wood, it is transferred into recycled PLA moulds. 
  • The material can be moulded into a tile, sheet with various thicknesses, any product or modular part. 
  • After a week to two weeks, the material is taken out of incubation and air-dried on racks: this stops the growth. 
  • The materials can now be finished with bio varnishes or left untreated.

The UK is home to 1% of the world's population but consumes 3% of the world's wood. Using wood waste frees up landfill space, contributes to sequestering of carbon, reduces carbon dioxide emissions from processing virgin material, and contributes to a sustainable use of natural resources. ⠀

These materials are fire retardant, insulating and sound-absorbing. The manufacturing system uses very low water and energy resources resulting in an impact that's close to carbon-neutral.

Non-circular alternatives to your products. What are they made of and how are they unsustainable?

Glassware that is used in your kitchen, which includes drinking glasses, baking dishes, and other types of glass dishes are not commonly able to be recycled. This is not because it is impossible to recycle them, but because of how they need to be recycled. This type of glass requires more heat and a different process to deal with potential additives that were added in the manufacturing of these products. 

Each type of kitchen glass, such as cups, dishes, or cookware has been manufactured differently, it is hard for recycling centres to sort each type of glass. This means that your cups or other kitchen glassware will not be accepted in your recycling bins. It is also unlikely that you could find a recycling center that will take these types of items separately, even though they can be recycled in general.

Glass vases follow similar rules as the glass kitchenware. Just because it can technically be recycled, most places won’t accept it. This is again due to how it was manufactured and how much more difficult it can be to break down when recycling. Glass vases can also sometimes come in colors that are uncommon which can make recycling them harder because they are only able to be recycled with a glass of a similar color.

Candle glass jars are safe for curbside recycling if they’re made from standard container (soda-lime) glass. However, other types of glass, such as borosilicate, may be used for these jars to help withstand the heat of the burning candle, in which case there could be a problem. This is because mixing different kinds of glass in a recycling batch is a recipe for disaster. Unfortunately, the different melting points of the different glass types can lead to low-quality recycled glass and even broken machinery.

Usability of your products in terms of ease of use and as good as alternatives.

The vases can hold water as mycelium is hydrophobic. All products need to be cleaned with a damp cloth or rinsed under running water and dried completely before reusing them. As the material is fire retardant the candles are very safe to use and to touch even when they are lit up. They will be more resistant to breakage than glass and ceramic.

The products will naturally change base colour from a bright white to light cream and, sometimes, brown as they evolve in time. This is completely natural and is part of the process of crystallisation of mycelium as it does not present a problem in concerns to its usage.

                                                Mycelium Composite Products