A peer-reviewed life cycle assessment of Modern Meadow’s Bioleather1 material family has compared its environmental impact to that of conventional leather.
The paper found that Bioleather1 produces 80% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than bovine leather and 20% fewer than PU-based synthetic leather alternatives. Additionally, the bio-based leather reduces blue water use, land use, and eutrophication by 95% compared to conventional leather. However, Bioleather1 has a slightly greater ecosystem impact than PU-based alternatives as its production requires agricultural resources.
Bioleather1 is made using Modern Meadow’s Bio-Alloy™ technology, which is a blend of plant-based protein and bio-based polymer. This blend is functional enough to be used in applications such as footwear and accessories, though Bioleather1 is currently still in the prototype stage.
Bio-based vegan leather
While a growing number of consumers are choosing to avoid conventional leather for ethical and environmental reasons, there are also concerns about the use of plastics in most synthetic leathers. As a result, companies are developing biodegradable vegan leather alternatives using everything from mushrooms to cacti. Recent figures indicate that the global market for bio-based leather is expected to expand with a huge CAGR of 47.5% between 2021 and 2027.
“Commercialization of BL1 and other Bio-Alloy powered materials will help society shift away from petrochemical and animal supply chains—not only for the materials industry, but for other consumer products industries, including fuels. As such, the positive environmental impacts of BL1 go beyond what is captured in the LCA,” said Rebecca Locker, Modern Meadow Sustainability Lead and co-author of the life cycle assessment.