Sustainable bio-leather made from food waste and seaweed wins national second place at the 2022 James Dyson Awards


Discover Kudarat, an alternative to leather synthesized from algae, food waste and fibers. Created by Divya Verma from the National Institute of Design in India, Kudarat is based on the concepts of circularity and sustainability, targeting the SDGs (sustainable development goals). Kudarat leather looks like animal leather but is cruelty free, waterproof, compostable, antimicrobial and has good tensile strength making it perfect for practical applications. He achieved the position of national finalist in this year’s competition James Dyson Awardnarrowly beaten by a reusable epipen design.

Designate: Divya Verma

A textile designer by profession, Divya’s journey to reinventing leather began by watching her mother diligently compost all organic and food waste at home, using the profits to then grow a veritable garden of plants, fruits and vegetables. flowers. “By researching its nutritional values, I learned how food waste ends up in landfills, rots and releases harmful greenhouse gases such as methane contributing to global warming,” she said. “Similarly, fiber waste from textile industries pollutes water bodies, enters our food chain and harms life on land and under water to a large extent. This motivated me to come up with a new material which uses renewable natural resources and helps with waste management.”

Kudarat uses natural fiber waste, bonded together using natural binders, seaweed biopolymers and natural waterproofing agents. After the organic leather sheets are made, they are dyed using natural colors derived from food and floral waste, such as vegetable peelings, nut shells, wood chips, roses and marigolds. “Material development does not require large land or water resources and does not result in carbon emissions,” Divya mentions. “It is chemical free and production requires a temperature below 100 degrees [Celsius] & is energy efficient. The leather looks, feels and lasts as long as traditional animal skin and even lends itself to embellishment and embroidery…but if discarded it will naturally biodegrade in 8-12 weeks while still leaving no harmful chemicals behind.


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