Copenhagen-based next-gen materials company Beyond Leather Materials has introduced a new leather alternative to the rapidly growing plant-based leather sector. Called Leap – which stands for LEftover APples – this is a highly sustainable plant-based leather alternative created from upcycled apple waste from the juice and cider industry.
The Danish startup was established in 2017 and last year announced a €1.1 million seed funding round, after being announced the winner of the Clim@ 2020 competition, an event that rewards startups demonstrating climate impact. Leap can be produced in only one day using 99% less water and emitting 85% less CO2 than traditional leather production, without the use of animals or harmful tanning substances.
Leap offers strong sustainable and eco-friendly credentials, with its 80% bio-based composition and focus on recyclability by design. The material’s 3-layered design of an organic textile backing, a 100% plastic and petrochemical-free apple waste blend, and a protective coating using a small amount of fossil fuel derivatives, enables Leap to be disassembled at the end of life, which the brand claims makes it probably the most sustainable leather alternative available today.
According to the United Nations, the clothing and footwear industry generates 8% of greenhouse gas emissions. With Leap, Beyond Leather aims to tackle the joint problems of climate impact and food waste to debut in the fashion market and produce on an industrial scale by 2022. Apple leather is just one plant-based future fabric making waves at the moment however, with cactus leather and mushroom leather also gaining traction in a market expected to grow to $85 billion by 2025.
“We believe that products should either be re-used or slip back into nature. We love a challenge and making the impossible possible keeps us going,” says Hannah Michaud, Co founder and CCO.