Apple Leather

How Good is this Vegan Leather?

Did you ever think it was possible to make leather out of such odd material types? Well, neither did I. This was until I started doing some research into some of the most unusual leather types on the market. Whether it’s made from Exotic animals, Mushrooms, and of course Fruit, the wild world of vegan-style leathers is rife thanks to the boom in sustainability and the fight against global warming. More and more people and turning to leather alternatives to play their part in switching to more sustainable goods.

So what exactly is Apple Leather? In essence, it’s the bio-based material made from the leftover (waste) of pomance (this is the technical name for the pulpy residue remaining after the fruit has been crushed) and peels from fruit – in this case, Apples. It’s a fascinating material and goes through quite a few processes before it turns into a leather-like material similar to any other animal leather on the market today. Around 50% of Apple leather is made from apple with the remaining 50% being made from PU or polyester/synthetic materials. 


But isn’t PU Leather bad in itself?

Its open to debate whether or not Apple Leather is truly vegan or sustainable thanks to its inclusion of PU material. Unfortunately, at this time, there’s really no efficient way to provide strength and durability to any type of leather, such as Apple Leather, as the material wouldn’t be durable enough or be able to hold itself together. That being said, even having 50% of the leather being sustainable is better than none. 

The Manufacturing Process

Firstly, a mushy pulp (made up of cellulose fibers) is left over as a result of juicing apples on an industrial scale. The Apple Leather is produced by recovering this waste product, that would otherwise be discarded, and transforming it into the final material. In the case of one popular brand, this is done within the region of Bolzano in northern Italy who has a sizable Apple industry. 

The precise process isn’t exactly known, but we do know that the cellulose is effectively “padding out” the number of virgin materials required to create Apple Leather. Fewer virgin materials equate to fewer natural resources being extracted from the planet, lower emissions, and lower energy consumption across the entire supply chain. 


Apple Lether’s Sustainable Properties

As you’d expect using Apple Leather is far more sustainable than other types of either animal or synthetic leather (and this isn’t also considering the ethical or moral dilemma of using animal skin in the first place). All the Apple’s used to create this material is made from the discarded skins and pulp from the Apple food industry that companies buy and convert making it a highly efficient upcycling/recycling event.  

As we previously mentioned PU Leather isn’t exactly sustainable, but compare to other leather types we need to think of the bigger picture. Currently across the world, we’re going through a transitional period where we migrating from unsustainability in many industries across the world. Whether this is in the energy industry, fashion industry, or tech world, innovation in combat global warming at its core is important for our future and Apple Leather is simply the start of a long journey ahead. As companies improve on technologies I’m sure we’ll get to a point, in the very near future, where Apple Leather is 100% sustainable.


Brands who use Apple Leather

Currently Apple Leather holds a very small space in the leather industry and not many brands have jumped on the opportunity to use this leather type. That being said, as it gains in popularity, I’m sure more and more brands jump on the Apple bandwagon using leather in many of the products. Some brands that currently use Apple Leather are listed below.

Oliver Co. London: A Brand we’re familiar with and reviewed in the past. Oliver Co. is the only wallet brand that uses Apple Leather (to own knowledge). Oliver Co. is highly sustainable being part of 1% of the plant and being Climate Neural certified. They are also in the process of becoming certified B-Corp. You can read the review of their frankly amazing premium compact wallet here


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