Exploring how waste Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast (SCOBY) generated from the kombucha drink industry can be re-processed into a new, more sustainable, vegan, leather-like material.
For ethical reasons, people often opt for non-animal derived products made of so-called “vegan leather”, unaware that it is just greenwashed PVC and PU-based plastic which is very harmful to the environment.
As an alternative, I have developed a new material which utilises the waste bacterial cellulose generated by local kombucha producers. It is called SCOBY-compo.
Through extensive experimentation and the use of natural oils and waxes, the material I have developed is water-resistant, flexible and strong. The result is a commercial, market-ready product that I can create in large quantities as a viable alternative for the fashion industry.
To evidence the viability of my material, I have crafted a collection of bags and purses that each demonstrate a different technique for production - from traditional stitching to modular assembly and liquid moulding.
Working closely with local communities, my aim is to create a fully circular system where the organic waste material can be harvested, processed, sold and eventually home composted and, rather than contaminating the environment, nurture it.