The story of Apple leather started in 2004. Alberto Volcan, an inventor from Italy, was looking for ways to use leftover apple waste from the fruit juice and compote industry in Northern Italy.
His first creation was an ecological paper, made using 15% apple waste, that reduced the CO2 impact by 20%-25% compared to other papers. This was just the beginning though, and he saw potential for further commercial products. He decided to join forces with Frumat, a company specialising in the recycling of industrial waste, to take his ideas further.
One of the first projects developed was a vegetable glue, which in itself wasn’t successful. Alberto didn’t give up though, and instead reworked the glue to be placed through a pasta machine. The sheet of fabric created became the basis of apple leather! Developed further and made commercially viable with the help of Frumat, this ecological, breathable, waterproof and durable fabric has been a game changer in the industry.
Apple leather, also known as AppleSkin, is a bio-based material made using the leftover pomace and peel from the fruit juice and compote industry.
Originating from the region of Bolzano in northern Italy, the fabric is created by first taking the recovered apple waste and reducing it to a powder. Once processed, it is sent to a factory located in Florence, where it is combined with polyurethane and coated onto a cotton and polyester canvas.
The apple leather used in our products is made using 50% apple waste mixed with 50% PU, coated onto a cotton/polyester canvas. The result is a durable but soft fabric that is perfect for hardwearing small accessories.
One of the most important aspects of using the apple waste is that it is a completely renewable resource. This reduces the CO2 impact significantly compared to faux leather made from 100% fossil fuels.
What makes apple leather even more special is that the renewable resource is also from a natural waste stream. The special apple pomace produced in the industry is classified as a special waste and in most cases ends up in landfill or in some cases burned for fuel.
Recently Frumat completed a life cycle assessment that compared a synthetic leather made with, and without, apple waste. The diagram below shows the relative comparison, with the apple
leather’s performance in green.
The most notable reductions come in the Stratospheric ozone depletion, Land use and Marine eutrophication.
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