American lawns account for a lot of green space—by some estimates, 40 million hectares, or 2% of all the land area in the continental U.S.—and while that grass does absorb some carbon dioxide, it’s not as much as other plants. Lawns also require a lot of upkeep, and can end up having a bigger carbon footprint than what they sequester. Now NetZero wants to remove some of the negative externalities of lawn care by making your yard absorb extra carbon, via the power of mycelium, the thread-like feeding structures of fungi.
Though they look a bit like bath bombs, NetZero mycelium orbs are actually meant for the ground. When you dissolve one in a watering can or hose sprayer and water your lawn, the orb inoculates your yard with fungi known to capture atmospheric carbon. One inoculation lasts 10 years and allows the average-size American yard, which is about a quarter acre, to absorb a ton of atmospheric CO2 every year. If every lawn used a NetZero mycelium ball, founder Joseph Kelly says, we could go from 650 million tons of carbon captured by our yards every year to 1.3 gigatons.