Fermented Packaging Is Alive… IT’S ALIVE!!

July 16, 2018


We talk a lot about fermentation here at Ernest, but we can’t help ourselves. Whether it’s wooden beer containers or the science behind champagne bottles, there’s so much to celebrate! Fermented beverages lend themselves to some ingenious packaging solutions, and today we’re giving a standing ovation to a project that harnesses the power of fermentation for the greater good.

You may have never heard of a SCOBY, but if you’ve eaten sourdough bread or chugged a bottle of kombucha, you’re already a fan. SCOBY is an acronym for Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast. It’s a collection of living, growing organisms that chows down on a liquid and makes it probiotic. Physically, SCOBYs are gelatinous and rubbery —and a designer named Roza Janusz is putting these natural properties to work as a Super Cool Option for Bundling Yams… among other things.

SCOBY Doo, What Are You! Photo courtesy of Roza Janusz

Janusz has devised a way for farmers to grow SCOBYs as a sustainable material for packaging their crops. To simplify a complex process, farmers collect nutritional waste from their crops and feed it to the SCOBY, which then chows down and creates a fermented liquid that can be used as a fertilizer or consumed as a probiotic drink. Once matured, the living SCOBY can be wrapped around crops and seeds as protective packaging.

Not only is the SCOBY package sustainable and compostable, but it’s also completely edible. One of the bundles in the photo below is a probiotic instant dish — simply toss it into boiling water and 10 minutes later you’ve got a healthy meal with zero packaging waste. They may not be pretty, but SCOBY packages are pretty amazing for sustainability!

Photo courtesy of Roza Janusz

Janusz’s SCOBY project joins a revolution in agriculture. She and people like Elon Musk’s brother, Kimbal, are putting the power to eliminate packaging waste in the hands of farmers, wherever they may be. “In the future,” Janusz explains, “we will find farmers not only in villages but also in city centers. Perhaps we will all take on the role of farmers and cultivate in urban gardens.”

Taking a step back to nature is already paving a more sustainable path toward the future, and at Ernest Packaging Solutions, sustainability is in our DNA. To learn more about our eco-friendly packaging solutions, read about another concept for edible packaging that’s letting seaweed farmers get in on the packaging biz.