Vietnamese designer Uyen Tran has developed a flexible bio-material called Tômtex, which is a leather alternative made from food waste that can be embossed with a variety of patterns to replicate animal leathers . The name tôm, meaning shrimp, references the discarded seafood shells that are used to create the textile , alongside the designer’s own waste coffee grounds. According to Tran, the resulting material is durable while remaining soft enough to be hand-stitched or machine-sewed, as well as biodegrading over the course of a few months. "I grew up in the city of Da Nang, where leather textiles were predominantly manufactured," she told Dezeen. "Leather is used in so many applications across different industries but people around the world are suffering from the pollution that the industry causes." In a bid to kill two birds with one stone, Tran developed a substitute using an abundant, natural resource – food waste. Every year, up to eight million tonnes of waste seafood shells and 18 million tonnes of waste coffee grounds are generated by the global food and drinks industry. "The world is running out of raw materials, so why I want to repurpose these wastes into a new, accessible […]

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