One company is providing a sustainable and ethical alternative to leather
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Spotted: Spent grain from brewing practices is usually burned, sent to landfill, made into gas, or used as cheap feed for livestock. All of these are low-value enterprises. So, instead, one startup, Arda Biomaterials, is utilising this cheap waste product to create leather, without needing to farm animals for their hides.
Arda Biomaterials is currently working with breweries from South London’s ‘Bermondsey Beer Mile’, which was once the leather tanning district of the City of London, to make its leather alternative.
The material is produced by taking the grain that has had its sugar removed for brewing purposes, also known as brewer’s spent grain (BSG). This grain is rich in protein and fibre, which makes it an ideal blueprint for an alternative to conventional leather. It is chemically treated and manipulated in order to create a material that resembles conventional animal leather, a process developed by the company’s founders Edward TJ Mitchell and Brett Cotton.
Arda Biomaterials has just received a £1.1 million (around €1.3 million) investment led by Clean Growth Fund, a UK cleantech venture capital fund. Now, the company is hoping to both reach a completed product and subsequently start launching its material in a limited capacity next year, and scale the business from there.
Reimagining material production is one important step we must take towards net zero. Springwise has also spotted one company that makes plastic alternatives out of invasive plant species, as well as one startup in the archive that aims to replace plastic bubble wrap with a wool-based alternative.
Written By: Archie Cox