New Delhi: The world around us is evolving more quickly than we ever imagined, and the fashion industry unquestionably reflects this tendency. Due to the horrible practice of shooting animals for their skin and hair, which is widely popular, many animal species are rapidly becoming extinct. The leather business is not only accountable for this crime, but it also contributes to environmental pollution.
To avoid this, a better alternative known as fruit or plant leather has been discovered. This will reduce the killing of animals, which in turn will enable us to maintain a healthy balance in the ecosystem.
The issue with existing vegan leathers:
While vegan leather is occasionally marketed as a sustainable substitute for products made of animal leather, the truth is more nuanced. This is due to the fact that most vegan leather produced today is made of synthetic, non-biodegradable components that are derived from fossil fuels. The majority of vegan leather is actually polyurethane (PU) or polyvinyl chloride, to be more precise (PVC).
These materials not only raise the demand for petroleum, but PVC also contains hazardous chemical additions that may directly endanger human health. The invention of fruit leathers has come as a rescue. This option is not only more sustainable but also is a solution to the problem of food waste. Going to statistics, about one-third of all food products in the world are wasted.
However, other types of agricultural and culinary waste, such as apple peels or pineapple leaves, are not edible. So, if these waste materials are made into practical products, like vegan leather, they can still be used.
What is fruit leather?
Fruit juice waste is used to make fruit leather, which is essentially a type of leather. Fruit waste usually obtained from fruit industries is typically used to create these fruit leathers. Similar to animal leather, plant leather is made from the leaves of various cactus and fruit trees. These are then made usable by converting them into leather utilising cutting-edge technology.
Fruit and plant leather is more expensive than animal leather due to the technical effort required, but it is considerably simpler and more environmentally friendly to produce this leather in terms of the number of natural resources used. Innovative uses for this leather are being discovered thanks in large part to research and development, and people and businesses that value sustainability is becoming more aware of the benefits of fruit leather and its versatility.
There are many different kinds of fruit and plant leather that are evolving. They are cactus leather, mushroom leather, pineapple leather, and many more.
Apple or Pineapple fiber:
It is a good idea to recycle fruit harvest waste into materials, however in this case, making a material that resembles leather from fibers is not all that different from making leather. To make the material marketable, it needs to undergo extensive processing and rely heavily on polyurethanes or PVC, and even then, its endurance is still in doubt. Due to its anisotropy and susceptibility to tearing, pineapple actually requires a fabric backing, rendering its use practically unnecessary. Pineapple is essentially a more resource-intensive method of producing leatherette.
Unbelievable as it may seem, mushroom leather could be the next big thing in eco-friendly textiles! The organic textile, called Muskin, is made from a particular kind of fungus. For designs, the fungi can be grown to the specific size and shape needed. Waterproofing is obviously necessary, but since it doesn’t use hazardous chemicals, this is a biodegradable, environmentally friendly alternative to leather.
Benefits of using fruit leather compared to animal leather:
Fruit leather is in its infancy but still has a lot of benefits compared to animal leather.
Firstly, the cost-effectiveness, as a higher price is necessary due to the different expenses associated with treating and preparing real leather. When all expenditures are taken into account, from the initial stages of manufacturing to the final phases of raising cattle, it is evident that vegan leather is more affordable and simpler to make.
Secondly, it’s also a big no to animal cruelty as no animals are killed or harmed in the process. So, this becomes one of the best ways to protect the environment and also the wild animals.