Innovation That Matters

The apple waste, combined with natural rubber | Photo source Leap

Danish startup upcycles apple leftovers into vegan leather

Fashion & Beauty

The new leather alternative is said to emit 85 per cent less CO2 in its production than traditional leather, while using 99 per cent less water

Spotted: Danish company Beyond Leather has created a plant-based leather alternative made by combining the leftovers from apple juice and cider production with natural rubber.

The leather alternative, known as Leap, consists of three layers, which can be disassembled at the end of its lifetime for better recycling. The structure consists of an apple-rubber blend derived from discarded apple leftovers post-juicing (skins, cores, stems and seeds of apples). The blend is then applied to a cotton and wood fibre textile backing. A finishing coat is made from a combination of bio-based and fossil fuel-derived ingredients, to increase durability the company says. The result is a plant-based leather product made of 80% bio-based ingredients.

According to Beyond Leather, apple waste is excellent for providing a soft yet sturdy leather-like finish. The high content of short fibre and polymers can be activated, providing the necessary strength and stiffness, co-founder Hannah Michaud says.

The company sources the apple waste from a small Danish juice producer which produces 500 to 600 tons of waste every year. “Roughly 25 per cent of an apple goes to waste after pressing it for juice or cider,” Beyond Leather co-founder Hannah Michaud told Dezeen.

Compared to traditional leather, Leap emits 85 per cent less CO2 in its production and 99 per cent less water, according to the company’s calculations.

The next step for the company will be to make the material completely bio-based and biodegradable by 2024. This involves finding an alternative to the fossil fuel-derived plastic used in the coating, whilst maintaining the desired qualities.

Written By: Katrina Lane

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