3 Eco-Friendly Materials Offering An Alternative To Leather And Plastic

August 25, 2021 By Diego Herrera

Plastic is an invention that has contributed the most to the deterioration of the environment. Given that fossil fuels are its main raw material, polymers often have a huge environmental footprint in their manufacture. Added to this, when plastic objects are thrown away, they literally take centuries to disintegrate. At the same time, products made with animal skin have a considerable carbon footprint, in addition to presenting insurmountable ethical problems for many.

We present three materials that are beginning to become popular as alternatives to plastic and animal leather.

A yoga mat and gym bags made with mushrooms.

The very trendy yoga company Lululemon is about to launch a mat and other accessories that imitate leather’s texture with fibers extracted from mushrooms. The Canadian company partnered with the biomaterials experts at Bolt Threads. The bags will be available for purchase in 2022. Seeking alternative materials is one of the company’s efforts to reach their sustainability goals.

A very chic bag or designer sneakers made with pineapple peel.

Piñatex is a product created with pineapple leaves, a material that is in itself resistant, fibrous, long-lasting and malleable. Leaves are usually discarded when harvesting this fruit, so the environmental impact of Piñatex is almost null. This material invented by Carmen Hinojosa from Spain is being used by clothing designers and furniture manufacturers who seek leather’s softness and resistance, but with a more ethical and sustainable approach. Brands, such as Skos Modern, use it for furniture, while star designers, such as Paul Smith, use it for very fashionable shoes.

Disposable cutlery made with avocado seeds… a very Mexican innovation.

A group of Mexican entrepreneurs joined forces to createBiofase, a company that produces cutlery and straws using avocado seeds as its raw material. This company is the only one in the country that produces biopolymers, and they already export their products to 25 countries. Avocado is one of the crops with highest environmental impact, so straws, cutlery, dishes and containers made by Biofase are a very creative way to counteract the environmental impact. Avocado seeds are industrial waste… What is trash for some, is an innovative idea for others.

If you want to learn about more products like these and what they do for sustainability, download the PerSus app!