However strange it may sound, recently the industries are shifting in creating more biodegradable products. Although a lot of harm has already been done to our environment . The recent shift towards creating more biodegradable products from natural sources is a good sign. Be it bioplastics or leathers opting natural sources for their production has ensured us some relief in terms of the pollution caused by unethical and ill mannered use of synthetic polymers in the industries.
Mangoes are delicious fruits. Their use in creating leather sheets came as an interesting topic to us. As in one our recent blogs related to bioplastics from bananas, the fibers and starch in these fruits give the products its stretchability and durability but at the same time being biodegradable.
Leather industry, that has build up crores of business in the fashion industry, uses animal skin as one of its main source materials. These are then treated with chemicals (tanning) to increase the shelf life of the products they end up being. Leathers are used in making footwear, handbags, equipment , furnitures, medical instruments. Skins of goats, sheeps, bufallo, pigs, cattle, alligators are used in leather industry. Many advocates have for decades now, voiced disapproval on use of animal skin raising the ethical concerns behind it. However, the leather industry has bloomed and flourished with the fashion industry hand in hand. Leather is strong and flexible which helps it to be shaped in any desired form. Its durability on the other hand ensures the longevity of the product for years increasing its demand in the fashion industry.
Mangoes are rich in fibers. Which in one way provides the strength the leather needs. Hugo De Boon and Koen Meerkerk, founders of the Dutch based company FruitLeather, were the ones to create the leather like material from mangoes. The fruit waste generated in the country inspired them to start up this project. The project which initially started up as a school assignment has now ended up as a massive production line. They have also teamed up with fashion brands like Luxtra to launch new products with vegan leather in the market.
FruitLeather cerates mango leather by mashing and boiling the left over mangoes. To the mango paste then different additives are added up , which are then thoroughly mixed and spread in sheets to be baked. The sheets obtained are then given a thin coat of resin and pressed. The leather sheets are also given specific press patterns that help in giving them a texture similar to animal leather.