This petroleum-free material offers an alternative to traditional leather made from cows
Spotted: India is said to be the world’s largest producer of bananas, but with all that fruit comes vast volumes of waste. Indeed, around 40 per cent of the crop gets wasted as peel. To put this wastage to good use, Kolkata-based material innovation firm Atma Leather is upcycling banana crop and agricultural waste to create plant-based leather, called Banofi.
Banofi’s make up is 50 per cent banana stem waste and 30 per cent natural additives. The remaining 20 per cent is made from primarily recycled polymers required for the leather backing, but Atma is working to innovate and reduce its dependence on polymers. The leather has a significantly lower environmental impact than animal and plastic leather, with 90 per cent less carbon emitted and 90 per cent less water required in the manufacturing process. Atma’s process also doesn’t create any toxic wastewater – and saves animals that would otherwise be slaughtered to produce leather.
Moreover, Banofi provides banana farmers with additional income. Atma sources its banana waste from smallholder farmers, where this waste is not utilised. These farmers are compensated for their produce, disincentivising harmful crop burning practices. And, by removing the banana waste quickly from farms, this reduces water logging in fields and the breeding of mosquitoes and scorpions.
Written By: Anam Alam