What if you could enjoy the best of leather–its feel, the way it wears and gets better with age, and the fact that it’s a renewable resource–without having to kill any animals to get it? That’s the promise of “fruit leather,” which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like.
Original Rotterdam Fruitleather, reports Boing Boing, is made from waste fruits and vegetables from the Rotterdam market. Market stall holders have to pay about 10 cents per kilo to dispose of spoiled fruit waste, so a lot of illegal dumping goes on, according to the team behind the project.
“In a single day on one of the outdoor markets in and around Rotterdam, vendors daily throw away approximately 3,500 kilos (7,700 pounds) of rotten or other unsellable fruits and vegetables,” says the site. This waste, although often inedible, can still be used.
The team, a collection of designers from Willem de Kooning Academie in Rotterdam, follow a process similar to that used by chefs in fancy restaurants. They “mash, cook and then dry fruits to make them into a candy-like piece of fruit called fruit leather.”
This leather can then be made into all kinds of things. The video shows bags, decorations, and even a chair. “We ourselves have created a design bag made completely out of the fruit leather material. The bag shows the quality and possibilities that fruit leather has to offer as a material,” say the designers.
With further development, the team thinks that fruit leather could become a viable commercial material. Even if it doesn’t wear as hard as animal leathers, it could certainly provide an alternative to plastics, or even card and paper packaging. Imagine buying a carton of strawberries, packed in a box made of those strawberries’ wasted siblings.
Given how moreish edible fruit leathers are, though, it’s easy to imagine getting hungry when you’re out an about and taking a bite into your own purse.