This alt-leather is plant-based, fully biodegradable, and can be recycled infinitely

Kaycee Enerva

Kaycee Enerva

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Australian leather brand Bellroy and US textile company Natural Fiber Welding (NFW) have created a high-performance, plastic-free, plant-based leather alternative called Mirium. Made without any petrochemicals, the companies claim it’s the most sustainable alt-leather made yet.

Viable Earth has featured several bio-based leather materials, from grape skins to cacti. However, these vegan leather products are still mixed with petroleum-based chemicals such as PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and PU (polyurethane), which take decades to biodegrade and harm the environment.

Mirium’s bio-leather, on the other hand, is made from cork, natural rubber and soybean oil and dyed using coconut husk charcoal. Because of its low-impact material, it can be infinitely recycled and is fully biodegradable.

“There’s a lot of other synthetic leathers that feel like they should be a good thing – they use a little bit of cactus or something – but when you actually look into it, the backbone of it is still petrochemical,” explains Bellroy’s co-founder and CEO, Andy Fallshaw. “We’re continually exploring what ‘better’ looks like as we progress towards a regenerative future.”

NFW founder Dr Luke Haverhals shared that he and his team discovered that they could fuse various natural fibres without breaking them down – drastically reducing the resources required to develop natural, durable, and fit-for-purpose materials.

“If Bellroy is going to make one of your fine wallets, then you need Mirium to perform to certain threshold quality attributes,” says Dr Haverhals. “Nature knows better how to heal planet Earth than humans do. And when we make sure we fit in and achieve balance within that ecosystem, everything around us gets better.” 

Other companies that utilise 100-per-cent bio-based leather include Germany’s Lovr, using hemp waste and Peelsphere, using fruit waste and algae.

Kaycee Enerva

Kaycee Enerva

A digital content manager based in the Philippines, Kaycee Enerva has written for multiple publications over several years. A graduate of Computer Science, she exchanged a career in IT to pursue her passion for writing. She's slowly practicing sustainability through period cups, and eating more plant-based food.

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