A fully biodegradable material called tomato composite was created by Indian alternative leather manufacturer Bioleather by extracting cellulose fibers from tomato plant waste.
The leather substitute is made of two distinct layers and is described as an “exotic material with unique texture, color, and characteristics.” As a result, the layer of polyurethane that is typically added to plant-based alternative leathers to increase durability is no longer necessary.
It is claimed that the tomato composite’s inherent qualities prevent it from deforming. It is also touted as being lightweight, simple to maintain, and water and abrasion resistant.
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The fabric won Best Textile Innovation at the PETA Vegan Fashion Awards in 2021. Tomato leather is now available from Bioleather in a variety of shoes and bags, and it can also be customized for businesses that want to use the material in their own products.
Additionally, Bioleather creates a different kind of microbe-derived, biodegradable vegan leather. The material uses only natural dyes and is carbon neutral. There is also an exotic variation that is said to be perfect for use in high-end products and mimics the texture of alligator skin.
With a variety of plant-based materials that would otherwise go to waste, many businesses are now working to create sustainable alternative leather. In India, Fleather upcycles discarded temple flowers into animal-free leather, and Atma Leather converts banana waste into an alternative to leather that is used by fashion labels like Rashki.
Leukeather, based in the United Arab Emirates, developed a substitute for exotic leather using river tamarind pods, and Zèta collaborated with Nespresso to develop leather made from coffee grounds.
“We can no longer only use sustainable materials or natural resources. We have an abundance of waste we can use. The idea was to give another life to waste and create a new vegan product combining innovation, aestheticism, and durability,” said Zèta CEO Laure Babin.