A peer-reviewed life cycle assessment of Modern Meadow’s Bioleather1 material family has been carried out. The study compared Bioleather1’s environmental impact against that of conventional leather.
According to the report’s findings, Bioleather1 produces 80% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than bovine leather. When compared to PU-based synthetic leather alternatives, Bioleather1 produces 20% fewer GHG emissions. The production of the bio-based leather alternative requires an estimated 95% less blue water use, land use, and eutrophication, compared to conventional leather. Nonetheless, Bioleather1 does have a slightly greater ecosystem impact than PU-based alternatives as its production depends on agricultural resources.
Bioleather1 is made using Modern Meadow’s Bio-Alloy™ technology, which is a blend of plant-based protein and bio-based polymer. The proportion and properties of the blend makes the material functional enough to be used in a variety of industries, such as footwear and accessories, though Bioleather1 is currently still in the prototype stage.
Even as demand for synthetic leather grows, thanks to consumers who are now choosing to avoid conventional leather for ethical and environmental reasons, there are also concerns about the use of plastics in most of these alternatives. In order to provide more eco-friendly options, companies are developing biodegradable vegan leather alternatives, using different resources, such as mushrooms and cacti. Recent figures indicate that the global market for bio-based leather is expected to expand with a CAGR of 47.5% between 2021 and 2027.
“Commercialization of BL1 and other Bio-Alloy powered materials will help society shift away from petrochemical and animal supply chains—not only for the materials industry, but for other consumer products industries, including fuels. As such, the positive environmental impacts of BL1 go beyond what is captured in the LCA,” said Rebecca Locker, Modern Meadow Sustainability Lead and co-author of the life cycle assessment.