Fruit and veggie waste is transformed into leathery material

A group of design students in Rotterdam have created a new type of leather from discarded fresh produce.

A multi-disciplinary design collective, studying at the Willem de Kooning Academie in Rotterdam, have found a purpose for the more than 7000 kilos of rejected fruit and vegetables from the city’s bi-weekly markets. The resourceful designers decided to turn the waste into a new material, which they refer to as Original Rotterdam Fruitleather.

Each week the team collects food waste from the market to recycle into fruit leather. The process was inspired by various gourmet chefs’ experimentation with fruit and vegetables, and involves mashing, cooking and then drying the produce into flat sheets, which results in a thin leathery material. Produced on a large scale, this new material could be a viable solution to problematic food wastage in cities.

The students have only just begun to explore the possibilities of their new leather:

“This material can be used in many different ways, creating many different products. We ourselves have created a designer 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.” 

The students’ main objective is to create awareness around food wastage by working with other larger companies to further develop the material and to explore areas where it will have the most social impact.