Mushrooms Clean Up Toxic Mess, Including Plastic. So Why Aren’t They Used More?

In the aftermath of the fires, federal and state workers removed much of the toxic debris. But then, in Sonoma County, a coalition of fire remediation experts, local businesses, and ecological activists mobilized to cleanse the foundations of burned-out buildings with … mushrooms. The Fire Remediation Action Coalition placed more than 40 miles of wattles—straw-filled, snakelike tubes designed to prevent erosion—inoculated with oyster mushrooms around parking lots, along roads, and across hillsides.

Their plan? The tubes would provide makeshift channels, diverting runoff from sensitive waterways. The mushrooms would do the rest.

The volunteers, led by Sebastopol-based landscape professional Erik Ohlsen, are advocates for “mycoremediation,” an experimental bioremediation technique that uses mushrooms to clean up hazardous waste, harnessing their natural ability to use enzymes to break down foreign substances. [Source]