NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Looking for a sustainable way to still be fashionable? A start-up company from Yale University students is working to make it happen — in a very unique way.
Banofi Leather uses banana waste to create synthetic types of leather. Maggie Boreham, the company’s co-founded and a master’s degree candidate at the Yale School of Management, said the idea came about after CEO Jannali Modi was working on a project on how to upcycle crop waste.
Modi wanted to find a sustainable alternative to leather, and looked into how crops could be used. Boreham said that in India, there’s a lot of crop waste that’s leaves.
“Usually, what happens is the stock and stem gets cut down and burned, and rather than burning it, she saw an opportunity to collect it and make it into something,” Boreham said.
The company has a manufacturing facility in Calcutta with 16 full-time employees. And although it’s not from an animal, Boreham said Banofi Leather is a good alternative.
“So the look, smell and feel is one of our huge selling points, because if we’re going to make an alternative to leather, we want something that people are excited for, and that feels just like the project that they’re trading it out for,” she said. “A lot of the hand feel and smell comes in that very final process. The swatch on top is actually the natural fiber before it receives any of the paint.”
The company has its eye on creating soft leather products like bags, wallets, key chains, watch straps and eventually clothing.
Watch the full interview in the player above.