Leather is not eco-friendly, ethical, or sustainable, but thankfully there are many alternatives. Maybe you’ve heard of mushroom leather, but have you heard of apple leather?

Source: Ed LUI/Youtube

Apple leather, sometimes called apple skin, is a bio-based material made from using the leftovers pomace and peel from the juice and compote industry. It originated in northern Italy and is made by taking the apple waste and reducing it to a powder. According to Oliver Co London, once it is processed, it is sent to a factory in Florence where it’s combined with polyurethane and coated onto a cotton and polyester canvas.

Many well-known brands like Sylven New York, Womsh, and Good Guys Don’t Wear Leather are already switching to apple leather as one of their main materials.

Apple leather is amazing because it uses waste which is a renewable resource. This greatly reduces the carbon dioxide emissions that are contributing to global warming. Apple leather is a fantastic alternative to typical vegan leather and is much better for the environment. Vegan leather can have a handful of problems because it is synthetic and made from 100 percent polyurethane, which requires fossil fuels, which we know are horrible for the planet. Apple leather only requires 40 to 50 percent plastic and uses waste that would otherwise be thrown away. Apple leather is also typically much thicker and lighter than other leather alternatives.

The founder of Sylven New York, Salima Visram, told Fast Company that they are working with producers in Europe for the apple leather materials for her bag collection.

“We tried mushroom, pineapple leather, and coconut leather, but it didn’t have the luxury leather feel we wanted,” she said. “It’s our goal to design things that stand the test of time.”

However, sourcing the apple byproducts can be a challenge for companies. The byproduct typically comes from Europe, which is better at handling food waste.

“Right now, if we have a large order in production for 4,000 bags, it’s almost impossible to get the raw materials,” says Visram. “That’s the largest roadblock, and something the fashion industry will have to figure out in the next five years, because we should be able to mass produce things when needed.”

Food and retail industries will need to communicate to get apple leather at the forefront of many companies, just like they do for animal leather production. For now, apple leather is more expensive than its synthetic leather counterpart, sometimes twice as much. However, it is still more ethical, sustainable, and even a little cheaper than animal leather. This is an exciting time and making the switch to leather alternatives is cruelty-free, ethical, and sustainable!

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