A vegan leather alternative made of waste legume pods
Called Leukeather, developed by Nuhayr Zein, the material is an alternative for exotic leathers made from dried Leucaena pods, a by-product of existing agriculture.
Leucaena leucocephala, also known as river tamarind, is a small, fast-growing tree native to southern Mexico and northern Central America. While it’s considered an invasive species in Europe and parts of Asia, it has benefits, as it grows fast, needs little water and improves soil fertility. The seeds, with antioxidant and antidiabetic properties, can be used to make medicine.
Local farmers harvest and collect dried Leucaena pods from their existing farms. The manufacturing process of Leukeather uses biotechnology to enhances the performance of the pods to make them more flexible, elastic and soft. In Leukether, the pods are what gives the leather its exotic look. Therefore, it does not need to be embossed like many other leather alternatives.
In addition, Leukeather does not rely on a plastic top layer. The material is naturally waterproof. The production creates job opportunities for less-skilled labour, boosts the income of existing farming communities and donates collected seeds for medicinal uses.