If you've signed up to this newsletter, I'm going to assume that you have by now heard of apple "leather". But what is it exactly? How is it made? And how eco-friendly is it?
NOTE: this newsletter is a condensed version of an article I have just published about AppleSkin. Click here to read the full article.
Made from apples, you say? LUXTRA's AppleSkin backpack.
What is AppleSkin™
It's a leather alternative that's made partly from apple mush. And yes, I'm quite certain that's the technical term. This mush is what's left over from squeezing apples in the fruit juice industry.
How is it made?
Normally this mush (ok, ok, it's technically called cellulose) is discarded - it's seen as a worthless by-product. Instead, FRUMAT, the company that creates AppleSkin, recovers the mush, dries it and then turns it into a powder (see below image).
I'm afraid the steps after that are a trade secret, but it's subsequently mixed with polyurethane (PU). The apple powder pads out the the amount of PU required, meaning that fewer natural resources are extracted from the earth.
How eco-friendly is it?
Following on from the above, it's true that AppleSkin is made in part from Polyurethane - which as a plastic, tends to be public enemy # 1.
Many people therefore rightly ask: well, wouldn't it be better to use leather then? The answer is that neither material is perfect, but leather involves a vast array of even more consequential environmental negatives (land clearing, methane release, rampant use of antibiotics in livestock) not to mention the animal cruelty aspect, which for LUXTRA is a strict no-go.
The Higg Index (figure below) is a way of comparing a material's sustainability. The higher the score, the higher the impact on the planet.
I'm trying to keep these newsletters short and sweet, so do head over to the full article online, where I also address:
- How well AppleSkin stands the test of time
- Whether it disintegrates in the rain
- and... whether you can eat it! (always the first question I'm asked).
Hope you enjoyed this intro into apple leather. Tune in next week for a deep dive into cactus-based vegan leather,