To understand the environmental impact of leather production, BioScienz calculates the CO₂ produced through the entire lifecycle of a cow. Each square meter of leather would be the equivalent of an emission of 110 kg of CO₂. The environmental costs don’t just stop there: the processing of raw animal hides typically uses toxic chromium tanning agents, and repeated washing steps which flush large amounts of toxic wastewater into the surrounding environment, posing high risk to human and environmental health.
In addition to environmental issues, there is also the harm caused to the cattle livestock raised for leather production. This is understandably important to consumers who wish to use products which are cruelty-free. Their options are then to seek eco-friendly alternatives, but unfortunately, the currently available vegan leathers on the market are either produced using fossil-based plastics or are not yet suitable for mass-production. This can be due to limited available feedstocks, or using organic streams which compete for food or fuel production.
BioscienZ is a biotech company from the south of the Netherlands. They will take organic waste streams from agriculture, and converts them into fungal biomass using rapid and techno-economically improved fermentation . Using waste makes this process highly sustainable.
Millvision, experts in natural fibres from North Brabant, will turn the fungal biomass into leather sheets. They use a pressing technique that will rely predominantly on water and overall low process temperatures, reducing the energy consumption of the overall production method.
Raw material production
Production of plastic products
Collection/ sorting and recycling
End of life