South American company Le Qara has created an innovative biodegradable leather substitute that is made from microorganisms.
The new material is made from microorganisms that are fed flowers and fruits residue - which is then bio-engineered to change its texture, toughness, flexibility and thickness. The leftover residue can also be used as a liquid compost - making the process completely zero-waste.
The product is versatile and very attractive for producers of leather accessories and footwear.
The company describes it as 'high quality [and] high resistance' with the 'same breathability as animal leather'.
Le Qara was founded by sisters Jacqueline and Isemar Cruz. Currently, they are in the process of producing pilot products and preparing to file a patent for the technology and composition of its bio-leather.
The company says it will hit the industrial scale of production by July of 2022.
CEO Jacqueline Cruz told Contxto: "The leather industry is the fourth most polluting industry [in the world].
"It kills nearly four billion animals. It uses 400 billion litres of water [anually]. For example, to make a pair of leather shoes you need approximately 8,000 litres of water."
Last year, the startup received The Global Change Award.
"The Global Change Award win means everything for our innovation, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity to get the training and exposure to succeed,” said Isemar Cruz Loayza