Students convert fruit waste into leather

Bag made out of fruit leather (Picture: Facebook/Fruitleather Rotterdam). Bag made out of fruit leather (Picture: Facebook/Fruitleather Rotterdam)

Students of the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam have found a way to turn fruit into leather. This leather, called Fruit Leather by the inventors, does not rot, does not attract ants or flies and does not only prevent wastage, but is also suitable for products.

The idea was born while 4th year students Hugo de Boon, Aron Hotting, Koen Meerkerk, Maaike Schoonen, Bart Schram and Miloy Snoeijers. were thinking of another way to use the some 3 thousand kilograms of fruit that are thrown away after a Rotterdam market day, according to the Academy's website.

And after many hundreds of kilos of fruit were peeled by hand, pitted, mashed, boiled and dried, they had a leathery material, that bears resemblance to animal leather, in their hands. "Every centimeter is unique. It is a material with a clear structure and texture, that differs by each type or fruit that is used", Hugo de Boon said to the AD.

To test their leather, the students have made a number of "prototype" products with it. So far 14 mangoes have been changed into a strong, flexible handbag. There is also a tougher shopping bag made out of nectarines and a lampshade made out of peaches.

The students have already been approached by shoe manufacturers interested in their product. "Even a large German company has contacted us." De Boon said to the newspaper. This company makes leather seats and things for BMW's and Porches and are looking for an alternative. "Fruit might just yield an alternative, animal friendly upholstery."