Although an apple a day is said to keep the doctor away, it can now also make vegan leather here to stay.
The options for plant-based leather are rapidly growing with innovations such as Bolt Threads’ mushroom leather Mylo, fique leather from eco-friendly textile company Fiquetex, and PANGAIA’S grape leather made closely with Italian winemakers.
The latest addition to the mix is a new leather alternative developed by Danish materials company Beyond Leather Materials. Leap, an acronym for LEftover APples, a plant-based material developed from upcycled apple waste discarded in juice and cider production.
Leap currently uses 80% bio-based ingredients with plans to be fully natural and biodegradable by 2024. The natural leather uses an apple waste blend made up of 64% apple and 36% eco-friendly ingredients, while being 100% plastic-free.
Leap leather is made up of three layers, starting with a textile backing that uses organic cotton. The middle layer is the apple waste. The finishing coat is partly bio-based and partly fossil fuel-derived to increase durability, with a roadmap designating the coating to be 99% bio-based by 2023. This three-layered system is designed to be easily broken apart at the end of the material’s life, further promoting its sustainable use.
Beyond Leather Materials touts Leap’s highly energy-efficient production process which the company says it only takes one day to create the materia,l using 99% less water and 85% less CO2 than traditional leather production.
The Copenhagen-based startup is a B2B supplier of sustainable alternative textile with a focus on turning fruit waste into new materials that are meant to be fully biodegradable, animal-free, and more sustainable than synthetic options. Last year, Beyond Leather Materials closed €1.1 million EUR in seed funding to further its alternative material development, which eventually led to the launch of Leap.
“We believe that we can deliver a high value and sustainable leather alternative that is based on fruit waste. We have been developing our animal-free product for three years, and with this funding we are now able to set up our production line and enter the market this year,” said Beyond Leather Materials CEO Mikael Eydt in a statement after the company’s seed funding announcement last year.
As it’s currently still entering the fashion and apparel market, expect more updates on how brands decide to use Leap in the coming year. Beyond Leather Materials expects the leather alternative to be fully available across industries in a wide variety of colors and textures by 2022. It also expects Leap to be 100% biodegradable by 2024.