Award-winning artist and self-described nature collector Mira Nameth came up with the idea of using London’s ubiquitous plant litter as the basis for a sustainable material. In 2019, she founded Biophilica to bring this idea to life. The six-member team has diverse experience in design, strategy, and project management. The company launched a crowdfunding campaign in September 2020 to raise funds to produce the first 500 m² (~ 600 yd²) of Treekind, their plant-based leather alternative.
Treekind is a biodegradable vegan leather made from green waste from parks and gardens. Treekind contains no petroleum-based polymers or harsh chemicals. Some samples pictured retain the colors present in the plant material used. Others have been dyed with plant pigments.
Production process: Mechanical/Chemical
Local green waste is combined with plant binders to create Treekind. According to the company, the production process is low cost, non-toxic, and scalable to urban and rural areas. In addition, the technology can be adapted to use local plants in a variety of climates.
Treekind is likely to receive high marks for sustainability in a variety of categories, not only compared to bovine leather but also to petroleum-based leather alternatives. Using local plant waste means that additional land and water use is minimal. Chemical use is doubtless much less as well. As an entirely plant-based material, Treekind is fully biodegradable and even home compostable.
Potential for applications in fashion, footwear, accessories, and upholstery
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