Who knew that the perfect alternative to traditional leather could be made out of… mangoes?
With the demand for more sustainable materials on the rise, companies have been getting extra creative with what they make their products out of. You may already be familiar with the vegan leather that’s been around for years. But now faux leather made from fruit is getting its time to shine.
While vegan leather is definitely a step up from traditional leather made from animals, whether it’s actually more sustainable depends on the type. The most common faux leather is made with polyvinyl chloride, aka PVC. PVC can be found in tons of different products, from chairs to sneakers.
Unfortunately, PVC isn’t exactly the most eco-friendly material out there. It’s a plastic made from fossil fuels and it isn’t biodegradable. So when someone disposes of something made of PVC, it just sits in a landfill for years.
Luckily, there’s now a myriad of up-and-coming PVC-free faux leather alternatives available. The world of fruit-based leather in particular could result in a much smaller carbon footprint for the synthetic leather industry.
4 Fruit-Based Faux Leather Options
1. Mango Leather
Yep, you can make a leather alternative out of this famous tropical fruit. Fruitleather Rotterdam, a company from the Netherlands, has perfected a way to produce a convincing faux leather using mangoes. Plus, they’re reducing food waste while they’re at it.
“The quality control requires that we cut the mangoes. We cannot sell them anymore,” says Anneke Bouman, quality assurance and sustainability manager at Fruitleather, in a video with Business Insider. “So I wanted to have an outlet for that instead of just throwing it away like trash.”
Every week, Fruitleather receives about 1,500 mangoes from a Dutch importer. Then, co-founders Koen Meerkerk and Hugo de Boon start making the vegan leather at the studio. “We wanted to turn something valueless into something that has value. Eventually, with a lot of experimenting, we came up with the material that we have today,” says Meerkerk.
After being produced, the mango leather is sold to designers all around the world and is used to make everything from shoes to handbags.
2. Pineapple Leather
Pineapple and leather are two words that seem like they would never mix, but they actually make a pretty great pair. Piñatex is a natural textile that’s made from pineapple leaf fiber waste. It’s already proven to be a pretty popular faux leather option, being used by over 1000 brands worldwide, including familiar names like H&M and Hugo Boss.
3. Apple Leather
Even this small and unassuming fruit can be used to make a strong and durable leather alternative. Using the skins of apples and a couple other ingredients, a number of companies have started to embrace this new, cruelty-free leather in their own products. For example, Samara—a popular vegan fashion brand—uses apple leather to make laptop sleeves and tote bags.
4. Banana Leather
This one probably seems bananas… and that’s because it is. Both Bananatex and Green Banana Paper sustainably manufacture products out of banana fiber. This unique material works for a wide selection of interesting products, from banana leather bags to custom business cards.
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