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Indian Startup Makes Vegan Leather from Discarded Temple Flowers

India-based startup Phool not too long ago developed vegan leather-based from discarded flowers used for prayer ceremonies. Based in 2017 by Ankit Agarwal and Prateek Kumar, the startup goals to handle the waste created when the flowers are discarded into the Ganges river—the place the consuming and bathing water turns into contaminated with pesticides used within the flower business—by creating shopper merchandise from upcycled flowers, together with what it known as “fleather.” Phool actively employs girls—significantly these from decrease castes—giving them alternatives and employment advantages resembling medical insurance. 

“Fleather is a viable different to animal leather-based,” Agarwal advised media outlet Hindustan Times. “We convert floral waste into charcoal-free incense merchandise. However final yr, we determined to discover the event of animal-free leather-based. Intrigued by the formation of a leather-like white layer on unused piles of flowers, our analysis and improvement crew found the expansion of a microorganism which used flower petals as a dietary supply.” The crew additionally found that flower leather-based incorporates chitin—an analog to leather-based’s sturdiness element collagen—which makes the vegan materials a viable substitute for animal pores and skin. “We tailored the micro-organism to extend the thickness and energy of the fleather and higher its texture. The tensile energy, elasticity, and sheer resistance of fleather is matching or is moderately superior to that of conventional leather-based.” 

Phool not too long ago secured $1.four million in funding capital to proceed its mission of decreasing flower waste, creating new shopper merchandise, all whereas serving to to empower Indian girls.

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