Scientists striving to find an alternative to leather have come up with an incredible alternative, grape leather. Concerns about the harmful environmental impact of conventional leather have led to several alternatives including vegan polyurethane, which has a much lower environmental impact than leather.
Unusual alternatives include pineapple leaf leather, cactus leaves, apple, and corn peel, and several other plants, but the latest innovation takes the cake. Grape leather promises to further reduce the carbon footprints and do away with it. Leather made from grapes has been made by a few companies including Vegea. The product used is the fruit waste that comes from the production of wine. This is converted into material used to manufacture jackets, bags, car seats, and couches.
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Seeds, Skin, And Stalk Used To Manufacture Grape Leather
The products used are natural byproducts of the wine industry and are normally disposed of without any further use. Grape leather is being used by Jennifer Gardner and her husband Gary. Jennifer is a Perth-based designer. iFarmaissance, their company has come up with grappaSac, a bag made of grape leather that is both stylish and functional.
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The bag managed to raise close to $250,000 in a recent campaign on Kickstarter, where creators share their creative vision with communities. Word of mouth campaigning helps the independent innovations.
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The skin, seeds, and stalk are not used in the making of winemaking them a by-product. And these are the very materials used to create grape leather. Vegea, based in Italy, sources this waste material from Italian wineries. The waste generated in making 10 liters of wine can help to make a liter of ‘wine leather’.
The material is dried, crushed, combined with oils and non-toxic materials to yield the material from the grape leather. The grape leather manufacturing process has two other environmentally friendly components. There is no use of petroleum oil and the wastage of water is minimal. Conventional leather uses both in large volumes making them harmful to the environment. The grape seeds give out a bio-oil that is used in the process.
The backing used is also environmentally friendly. While polyurethane uses a synthetic yarn backing, grape leather uses bamboo, cotton, hemp, or other GOTS-certified materials.
Ifarmaissance has moved away from using leather and produces bags made from cactus, apple, and deadstock fabric. Jennifer was inspired while taking a course on sustainability from Cambridge University. She believes plant-based leather is the material of the future and can be used to make eco-friendly, beautiful, and durable products.