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The World’s First Leaf Leather

with Mira Nameth

Designer Mira Nameth started seeing the issues with climate change and decided she wanted to be part of the solution. She went back to study product design the Royal College of Art with a specific intention to focus on sustainability.

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LEATHER INDUSTRY

Leather which represent a $50bn industry has terrible environmental and human impact. Tanning is probably the most talked about issue with the infamous Black River of Daka.

Metals used for tanning are extremely harmful and no humans should be close to them. There is also a high amount of solid waste and Chromium 3, Chromium 6.

However even if the producing country is more regulated, processing leather itself is also a problem:
– Leather is one of the most carbon-heavy material
– It has a large carbon and water footprint.
Even if the production is regulated, leather still demands too much from our planet.

VEGAN LEATHER

PU & PVC have lower carbon and water footprint so in that comparison they are better. But they are still made from petrochemicals which means that they are essentially plastic. They won’t break down at the end of life.

COMES IN TREEKIND

TreeKind is made from green waste which is essentially park & garden waste: leaves, twigs, grass, cutting from trees… Everything you put in your green bin.
Biophilica collects green waste from parks around London and they have recently been experiencing successfully with agricultural waste (tomato plant waste). So adding to parks, now farms are part of their supply chain.

SOME NUMBERS
800 million tons of green waste
5.5bn tons of agricultural waste

And it is regenerative!

TreeKind is ‘estimated carbon-neutral’. They are waiting for the Life Cycle Assessment to confirm the first findings:

‘The carbon sequestered by the plant matter that we are using in our material collects more carbon than the process of making the material’ Mira Nameth

BIOPHILICA AT THE INTERSECTION OF NATURE, SCIENCE AND DESIGN

A group of scientists and designers working together. A collaboration that is extremely fruitful and positive.
Nature has spectacular engineering and chemistry so ‘we’re just at the start of this plant revolution where we will see an explosion of green chemistry […]. We are moving away from fossil fuels and looking at chemistry that does not damage the environment’.

NEXT STEPS

1. Setting the space in East London and producing 500 square meters of TreeKind. They are working hand in hand with selected brands to develop products.
2. Competition with Blue City Labs where the finalist will get enough TreeKind to create their designs.
3. Collaboration with ID Watches Geneve, a luxury watch brand focused 100% on sustainability: 100% recycled steel and refurbished mechanism. TreeKind is working on the watch straps.

MIRA’S ADVICE FOR A MORE SUSTAINABLE LIFE

Eating as many plants as possible!

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