Researchers create sustainable bio-leather made from soybeans

Read Time:   |  27th February 2017

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A female collective in Yogyakarta, Indonesia are using soybean waste to cut water pollution, replace animal leather and offer a sustainable fabric instead.

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The world of vegan leathers has come on leaps and bounds in the past couple of years, with both mushroom leather and pineapple leather hitting the headlines. Now, soybeans can be added to this list, with researchers at XXLab, a female collective that focuses on art, science and free technology in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, using it to cut water pollution, replace animal leather and offer a sustainable fabric instead.

In a recent AJ+ video, Irene Agrivina, an artist at XXLab, explained the “why” behind the product:

“There’s a lot of waste thrown away to the river because of tofu production so [we thought] what we can do [with] this waste and make it into something valuable.”

The “how” is just as interesting–XXLab takes liquid waste that results from tofu production, boils it with vinegar, sugar and fertilizer, adds bacteria, and waits for 10 days for the mixture to become microbial cellulose, at which point it can be dried. The result? Low cost sustainable fabric with zero waste that has been used to create shoes, bags and wallets. According to the website, research is also being done to turn “soya liquid waste in to edible cellulose, biofuel.”

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While it is not available to the public yet, designer Ratna Djuwita hopes that soybean leather–or “soya c(o)u(l)ture”–will become a “new trend of material” in the future, and that by sharing the process, people “can apply it for free.”

To keep up with XXLab’s innovative work, you can visit their website or Facebook page.

Source: xxlab, ClearlyVeg

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