A new India-based start-up has discovered a way to use waste flowers to develop a leather that is vegan, sustainable, and cruelty-free.
Source: Bright ideas/YouTube
A Kanpur-based startup called Phool is making what they call Fleather which is a plant and fungi-based leather alternative meant to take down the traditional leather industry. Feather is made by repurposing floral waste that is generated in temples across India.
The animal industry creates an incredible amount of emissions, and many chemicals are needed to produce leather. The chemicals and emissions go into our air and waterways, which is one of the driving forces behind climate change.
The Ganges in India is a river that is believed by Hindus to be the most sacred of all rivers. However, it is often polluted, and tons of flowers are discarded into the river by temples and worshippers. The flowers that are used in the rituals are sacred, which means that they cannot be disposed of with other waste. Placing the flowers into the river is sometimes part of the ritual, and therefore flowers are dumped in bodies of water every day.
However, when these flowers are discarded into rivers, they can leach chemicals from pesticides, and eventually, the flower decay into mulch that accumulates and contaminated the water. This is why the founders of the company decided to figure out a way to upcycle the flowers.
Now, every morning trucks from Phool travel to Kanpur’s temples to collect flower waste before it is dumped into the river. While the company was originally making incense with the leftover flowers, they discovered by chance that they could develop a leather alternative.
They noticed that there was a fungal microorganism trying to grow on the flowers. They began to experiment and eventually discovered that they could make it into a leather material.
Fleather was a finalist in the 2022 Earthshot Prize and is now working with PVH, the parent company of Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger.
According to PETA, the leather industry kills more than one billion animals every year. We hope leather alternatives will continue to gain popularity. Companies are finally taking a stand against fur, why not leather?
Sign this petition to stand up against leather!
If you have the choice, why not choose vegan and cruelty-free? Large fashion brands are making it easier for consumers to choose ethical options. While some may argue that it’s difficult to shop sustainably when buying new clothes, bold and socially-conscious brands like Tiny Rescue are starting to make a mark by creating activism-focused recycled sweatshirts and tees for the gen-z market. Hopefully, at some point, vegan shoes and clothes will become the norm!
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