Your next Dell computer could come shipped with mushrooms. I’m not talking about a bag of mushrooms, though. Instead, an innovative new mushroom-based packaging would protect the computer.

Dell announced the new packing material during last week’s Fortune Brainstorm Green event in California. Oliver Campbell described the product in a post on the Direct2Dell blog:

“The mushroom cushioning is unique because it is grown and not manufactured in the traditional sense.  The process works like this.  Waste product like cotton hulls are placed in a mold which is then inoculated with mushroom spawn.  Our cushions take 5 - 10 days to grow as the spawn, which become the root structure - or by the scientific name, mycelium - of the mushroom.  All the energy needed to form the cushion is supplied by the carbohydrates and sugars in the ag waste.  There's no need for energy based on carbon or nuclear fuels.  Now you know why there has been such interest in mushroom packaging.”

Dell will be launching a pilot project to test the new mushroom packaging. The first product to be shipped with this new technology will be the Dell PowerEdge R710 server.

This isn’t Dell’s first foray into eco-friendly packing materials. In November 2009, the company launched its bamboo packaging program. Bamboo packaging is better suited for lighter products like laptops, tablets and smartphones. The new mushroom packaging will be used for heavier products, starting with the PowerEdge R710 server and then expanded to other server products and desktop systems.

Dell computers: Protected by mushrooms
If you're a Dell customer, your next computer purchase could come shipped with mushrooms.