Otter Box iphone range

© OtterBox

OtterBox Launches Desserto Cactus Leather Cases for iPhone 15 and Apple Watches

OtterBox launches a new and luxurious mobile phone case made from Desserto, a plant-based material derived from the Nopal cactus, to the iPhone 15 series and Apple Watches. According to the company, the Symmetry Series cactus leather cases can withstand everyday drops and bumps. The case also features raised edges for added protection around the display and camera. The Symmetry Series Cactus Leather Case is MagSafe compatible, so MagSafe accessories can be connected at any time. The OtterBox Apple Watch band made from cactus leather rounds off the range of accessories and is designed to be worn all day long. The cactus leather watch bands are characterized by precise stitching and perfect integration with the Apple Watch, according to the company. Made from the same …


BMW Mini leather-free

© BMW/Mini

PETA Survey Finds Significant Increase in Brands Offering Vegan Car Interiors

A survey by animal rights charity PETA has found a considerable increase in brands offering vegan car interiors worldwide. PETA contacted the most popular car brands in the biggest global markets to find out whether they offer interiors free of animal-derived materials such as leather and wool. Cabin surfaces, seats, trim, and steering wheels were all taken into account. Mercedes-Benz and BMW confirmed that they now offer several models with vegan interiors; the latter recently announced that the 5 Series Touring would feature seat surfaces made from an innovative leather alternative called Veganza. Fiat also offers animal-free interiors, as does Volkswagen for several of its models available on the German market. Volvo, Citroën, Dacia, Peugeot, Renault, smart, and Polestar all offer vegan interior options either …


Celium cultivated cellulose

© Celium

Polybion Creates “Entirely New Category” With Global Launch of Celium Cultivated Cellulose

Spanish biomaterials producer Polybion has announced that its cultivated cellulose, Celium, is now available worldwide. The company claims the material is more than a leather alternative, and will create an “entirely new category” due to its unique properties. Celium is grown by feeding bacteria with agroindustrial fruit waste; the cells then self-organize and create a cellulose structure as a metabolic by-product. This structure undergoes a sustainable stabilization process, and the resulting leather-like material can be dyed, embossed, and tanned with chromium-free formulations using existing infrastructure. The material’s properties can be tailored for applications such as fashion, sportswear, and the automotive industry — for example, the thickness of the material can be controlled as it grows. Celium is plastic-free and has a much lower environmental impact …


Saveggy raises funds to replace plastic around fruits and vegetables with its plant-based formula.

© Saveggy

Saveggy Raises €1.76M for Edible Fruit & Veg Coating as Solution to Plastic Packaging

Swedish startup Saveggy has raised €1.76 million (SEK 20M) for its plant-based alternative to plastic packaging designed to preserve the shelf life of vegetables and fruits and prevent food waste.  The startup’s plant-based coating is said to be the only alternative available offering the same shelf life extension as plastic packaging. Additionally, it is the only edible coating for fruits and vegetables with edible skin, such as cucumbers, apples, and eggplants, approved according to EU regulations. Starting with a solution for cucumbers, Saveggy will use the newly raised funds to produce this innovative material at an industrial scale and successfully bring it to market The round was led by impact investor Unconventional Ventures. LRF Ventures, Almi Invest GreenTech, and industry angels also backed the startup’s plastic-free …


A collage of the brands that have partnered with Spiber

© Spiber Inc.

Spiber Raises Over JPY10 Billion for Mass Production of Fermented Proteins for Materials

Spiber Inc., a Japanese biotech “brewing” sustainable materials for the fashion, automotive, and personal care industry, announces it has raised over JPY10 billion (around $65M) in equity financing. Spiber has raised a total funding of $489 million over 9 rounds. The funding, which included additional investments from existing shareholders, will allow the company to accelerate mass production of its innovative Brewed Protein materials and facilitate global sales.  Founded in 2007, Spiber uses precision fermentation and polymer and material science to develop protein-based alternatives to animal and petrochemical materials. Its polymers can be used to make spider silk, wool, cashmere, leather, fur, and more. The company already operates biomanufacturing plants in Thailand and is building another in Iowa, USA. Kazuhide Sekiyama, Director and Representative Executive Officer …


A shoe made from bacterial, self-dyeing leather

© Ed Tritton - Imperial College London

UK Researchers Develop First “Self-Dyeing” Plastic-Free Vegan Leather from Bacteria

Imperial College London researchers have developed, using bacteria, a plastic-free, vegan leather that dyes itself black during production. Scientists and material companies have been using microbes to produce sustainable textiles or dyes for the fashion industry; however, the researchers claim this is the first time a material produces its own color pigment. One of fashion’s most environmentally damaging processes is dyeing with synthetic chemicals. The researchers explain that black dyes — especially those used for tanning leather — are particularly harmful.  To solve this environmental problem, the researchers genetically engineered the bacterium Komagataeibacter rhaeticus to simultaneously produce microbial cellulose and the dark pigment eumelanin. Their new process has been published in the journal Nature Biotechnology.  “Inventing a new, faster way to produce sustainable, self-dyed leather alternatives …


Michael Newton of Qorium

Michael Newton. © Qorium

Qorium: “Our Product Creates Consistent, Beautiful, and Easily Workable Leather”

Founded in 2014, Dutch biotech startup Qorium is developing cultivated leather to provide an ethical and sustainable alternative to animal leather with no compromises on performance. The company’s technology enables the development of leather alternatives with consistent quality and adjustable properties. The result is a premium material with dramatically reduced carbon emissions and waste compared to conventional leather. In 2021, Qorium raised €2.6 million to scale up its technology. The company then announced earlier this year that it had secured further funding as part of its journey towards commercial scale, and revealed it had appointed former Nike senior executive Michael Newton as CEO. We spoke to Newton to find out more about Qorium’s technology and its benefits. What challenges does Qorium face in terms of …


Researchers use mycelium to make loudspeakers

© iStock/OleksandrKr

Researchers Use Mycelium & 3D Printing to Make Loudspeakers More Sustainable

Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Learning Technology (Fraunhofer IWU) is investigating the potential of mycelium as an effective, affordable, and sustainable material in loudspeaker construction. The researchers aim to process live mycelium using 3D printing, before influencing its growth to achieve both sound-reflecting and sound-absorbing properties. By altering environmental conditions, the properties could be specifically adjusted, creating foam-like structures to absorb sound and dampen vibrations along with solid and smooth structures for sound reflection. Mycelium could therefore be used both for loudspeaker housings and as an insulating material. This technique could reduce the cost of producing transmission line loudspeakers, which are expensive and complex as they contain a pipe up to three metres long to provide bass and reduce resonance. This pipe must …


AMSilk and BRAIN Biotech successfully improve structural proteins for performance biomaterials.

© BRAIN Biotech

AMSilk and BRAIN Biotech Achieve Milestone in Biodegradable Materials Performance

German Biotech AMSilk GmbH and BRAIN Biotech, a leading provider of solutions for the biologization industry, have been working for a year to create top-notch protein-based fibers for the performance materials sector. Now, at the end of the first phase of the collaboration, they announce that they have successfully optimized a specific natural structural protein for high-performance biomaterials and registered the first patent application for this optimization process — marking a significant milestone for the future sustainable textile industry. Recently, Gudrun Vogtentanz, CSO at AMSilk, commented: “Together with BRAIN Biotech, we are bringing tailor-made material solutions to the market that not only meet the needs of customers but are sustainable. This will enable us to revolutionize the performance materials market in the long term, which is currently dominated …


BMW interior made with vegan leather

© BMW Group

BMW Offers 100% Animal-Free Interior with Vegan Leather ‘Veganza’ in New 5 Series Touring

BMW is offering a completely animal-free interior option for the 5 Series Touring. According to the company, the interior design of the new vehicle sets new standards in terms of animal welfare and sustainability. The seat surfaces are made from the innovative material “Veganza” and will optionally be available with decorative perforation. Veganza is a vegan leather alternative that is said to offer an improved feel and optimized climate properties. The BMW Group announced in autumn 2023 that it would offer BMW and MINI vehicles with completely vegan interiors and would produce even more sustainable and 100% animal-free vehicles in the future. In cooperation with various startups, BMW is researching and developing innovative materials with leather-like properties that can be used, among other things, for …


Natural Fiber Welding (NFW) has developed PLIANT, a 100% biobased material made from plants, not plastic, designed for outsoles.

© Natural Fiber Welding

Natural Fiber Welding Introduces World’s First Plant-Based Cured Natural Rubber Outsoles

US Plant-based material company Natural Fiber Welding (NFW) has developed PLIANT, a 100% biobased material made from plants, not plastic, designed for outsoles. PLIANT is made with natural rubber derived from the sap of the Hevea brasiliensis tree, harvested from certified, responsibly managed forests combined with NFW’s patented plant-based curative process. This method is said to replace the function of petrochemical ingredients in footwear performance. As a result, PLIANT plastic-free outsoles are said to be the world’s first naturally cured performance rubber soles, paving the way for animal and fossil-fuel-free footwear.  In addition, PLIANT outsoles are mechanically recyclable, described as bioneutral (made only with natural raw materials), and free of toxic chemicals. Furthermore, the material is rapidly scalable, using standard compression molding in the manufacturing process, making it …


A man dissolving a powder in a glass of water

© nicoletaionescu -

Generation Food Rural Partners Acquires Edible Packaging Company DisSolves, Inc

Big Idea Ventures announces the acquisition of Pittsburgh-based edible packaging company DisSolves as a part of its Generation Food Rural Partners Fund portfolio (GFRP). DisSolves, Inc. uses patented technology to create biodegradable and edible components made from natural, vegan ingredients that are Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) and are used to produce films and packaging materials for various applications, including encapsulants, nutraceuticals, and pods. The company’s proprietary films allow for the packaging of premeasured, individual servings of powdered products in user-friendly pods, enabling food and beverage companies to create more convenient and sustainable products. The GFRP Fund, a part of Big Idea Ventures, focuses on investing in the best food technology and agrotech companies globally. It targets intellectual property with potential for broad commercialization, particularly …


AMSilk and 21st.BIO join forces to scale silk protein materials production.

© AMSilk

AMSilk and 21st.BIO Forge Alliance to Scale Bioproduced Spider Silk Proteins “From Kilos to Tons”

German Biotech AMSilk GmbH announces a partnership with the Danish bioproduction leader 21st.BIO, to accelerate the production of advanced bioproduced spider silk proteins to meet the growing demand for sustainable material solutions. As part of the collaboration, 21st.BIO has developed precision-fermented microorganisms that can be used to produce silk proteins on an industrial scale. According to 21st.BIO, the new strain ensures the extracellular expression of silk proteins while enabling biomanufacturing at unprecedented productivity levels, supporting higher yield, greater efficiency, and reduced production costs.  Gudrun Vogtentanz, CSO at AMSilk, shares: “Through 21st.BIO, we now have access to more efficient production strains, which are a game changer in terms of the efficiency and sustainability of our feedstock. Moving production quantities from kilos to tons brings AMSilk’s technology to the next …


Mogu has secured €11 million to develop high-quality mycelium solutions for the fashion, interior design, and automotive industries.

© Mogu

Italy’s Mogu Raises €11M to Expand Mycelium Materials for Interior Design, Fashion, and Cars

Mogu Srl, an Italian material innovation firm, announces that it has secured €11 million in Series A funding to develop high-quality mycelium solutions for the interior design, fashion, and automotive industries. The company also shares that it will rebrand in a few weeks as SQIM, its widely recognized name. CDP Venture Capital and ECBF VC co-led round with the additional participation of Kering Ventures and previous investor Progress Tech Transfer. The new capital will allow the company to capitalize on its proprietary technological platform by scaling to industrial volumes. In addition, Mogu will further R&D projects in material innovation, open a new demo production plant, and expand its team, “attracting and retaining premier industry talents.” Maurizio Montalti, Chief Mycelium Officer and co-founder of Mogu/SQIM, comments: “This …


BioFluff plant-based fur

Supplied by BioFluff

BioFluff Secures $2.5M in Seed Funding for Plant-Based Fur Alternatives

BioFluff, a biomaterials startup describing itself as the first fully plant-based fur alternative, has successfully closed its seed funding round, securing $2.5 million from leading venture capital firms, spearheaded by agrifood tech investor Astanor Ventures. Astanor Ventures has invested in over 45 agrifood companies globally, including plant-based businesses MicroHarvest, Wicked Kitchen, and Umiami. This funding marks a significant milestone for BioFluff, following a pre-seed round of $0.5 million in 2022, led by SOSV, PDS Limited & Joyance Partners. “We were impressed by the passion and determination of the founding team. Biofluff has a unique offering for the luxury industry, fashion, and textiles, which is in full alignment with the Astanor mission of a more regenerative economy,” stated Christina Ulardic, a partner at Astanor Ventures. BioFluff, …


Wastea makes vegan leather from tea industry waste

© Wastea

Turkish Company Wastea Turns Tea Industry Waste Into Vegan Leather

Wastea is a Turkish company working to transform dry tea industry waste into an animal-free leather alternative. Tea waste has few applications, as its caffeine content is too high to be used in animal feed or the food industry. It is also unsuitable for bio-energy generation, meaning it is usually sent to landfill or incinerated. Wastea has developed a processing method to turn the waste — which includes stems, leaves, and buds — into a sustainable leather alternative that is up to 95% bio-based. The material is available in a variety of colors and can be used in the fashion, automotive, and homeware industries, among others. Turkey is the world’s fourth-largest tea producer, meaning that tea waste is a local and almost limitless resource. Furthermore, …


Algenesis produces a plastic-like material made from plants and algae that is biodegradable.


Algenesis Secures $5M to Produce at Scale Biodegradable Plastic Made From Algae

San Diego-based Algenesis Corporation, the plant-based material science company behind the biodegradable shoe brand BLUEVIEW, announces it has raised $5 million in a seed funding round to expand production and commercialization of Soleic PU, a plastic biomaterial made from plants and algae. Additionally, with the new funds, the company will expand Soleic product lines into breathable and waterproof textiles and phone cases. Soleic PU is currently available in soft foam applications, such as midsoles and insoles for footwear. In previous partnerships with the surfing brands REEF and Artic Form, the company created innovative algae foam blank surfboards.  First Bight Ventures and Circulate Capital led the round, with MIH Capital, Diamond Sports Group, and RhinoShield supporting the biomaterials company. The investment follows a $5 million grant from the US Department …


Mushroom packaging ©Ecovative

Ecovative Opens Access to Patent for Plastic-Free Mycelium-Based Materials

Ecovative, a US developer of sustainable mycelium-based technologies, has announced that it is opening access to a European patent for its plastic-free MycoComposite™ materials. All individuals and businesses in Europe can now use the materials in their innovations, providing a sustainable alternative to plastics and environmentally damaging chemicals. The patent outlines a blueprint for the creation of mycelium composites, which have the potential to cut carbon emissions across multiple industries. According to Ecovative, the patent is already in use worldwide in industries such as packaging, construction materials, architecture, and more. Interest in entrepreneurial applications of MycoComposite is reportedly increasing sharply in Europe, and Ecovative hopes to test the potential of open-access patents to spur innovation in mycelium technologies. “Picks and shovels” The news comes a …


Xampla has launched a consumer brand, Morro, to commercialize its highly innovative, vegan, and eco-friendly alternatives to single-use plastics.

© Xampla

Xampla Launches Morro Brand for Vegan and Biodegradable Alternatives to Single-Use Plastics

Xampla, a natural material company based in the UK, has launched a new brand, Morro, to commercialize its highly innovative, vegan, and eco-friendly alternatives to single-use plastics. The company, a University of Cambridge spin-off, has developed a technology that uses plant proteins or sustainable feedstocks to create a material that behaves like plastic, providing protection and extending the shelf-life of ingredients and products.  However, since Xampla’s natural material is not chemically modified, it “does things that plastic never could,” such as being soluble, edible, cookable, and completely biodegradable in any environment, including home compost, explains the company.  “Our technology is a world-first, capable of replacing the most polluting plastics at scale and delivering performance parity,” says Xampla. Switching away from single-use plastics Morro’s portfolio includes …


Apple claimed to be discontinuing leather iPhone cases

© Apple

Apple Rumored to Be Discontinuing Leather iPhone Cases

Ahead of the unveiling of the iPhone 15, which is expected to take place at Apple’s much-anticipated Wanderlust event later today, multiple leakers have claimed that the tech giant is planning to discontinue its leather iPhone cases in favor of a more sustainable alternative. As reported by MacRumors, the company is expected to replace its leather cases and Apple Watch straps with accessories made from a premium next-generation material called FineWoven. According to a leaker known as Kosutami, the new cases will be available in ten colors — Black, Mulberry, Taupe, Evergreen, Pacific Blue, Wisteria, Antique White, Butter Yellow, Orange, and Pink. The rear of the cases is said to have a woven appearance, while the edges are rubber-wrapped. It is believed that the new …