Styrofoam has become ubiquitous in the modern age of consumerism and even synonymous with packaging. However, it contains toxic chemicals such as benzene and styrene that aren’t biodegradable and can linger for up to 500 years. This is why Boey Tze Zhou, the founder of Eko Agro Biotech, saw an opportunity to use his mushroom farming waste as an alternative to styrofoam.
After graduation, Boey started a small-scale mushroom farm in the corner of his father’s small factory with RM20,000 accumulated from his savings, a prestigious award he received from the Anugerah Pelajaran Diraja at his graduation, and from his parents. When he gained more confidence, he was able to acquire a plot of land in Juru, Penang, from the state government of Penang in order to launch a mushroom farming project.
However, as the company continued to produce more mushrooms for human consumption, he realized that the amount of agricultural waste generated by mushroom cultivation was also substantial. Most mushroom growers usually encounter the same issue whenever a batch of mushrooms is ripe for harvest. Previously, Boey used his mushroom waste as compost for banana trees. But what if there was a more efficient way to recycle it?
After several years of conducting his own R&D, Boey found a way to convert his mushroom waste into mushroom packaging, including finding a holy grail formula as a catalyst to enhance its growth.
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