SB Brand-Led Culture Change 2024 - Last chance to save, final discount ends April 28th!

Chemistry, Materials & Packaging
Could This Circular Textile Put Conventional Leather Out to Pasture?

Modern Meadow’s Bio-VERA™ is a high-performance, upcycled alternative to traditional bovine leather with significantly lower environmental and supply chain impacts.

New Jersey-based materials-science company Modern Meadow is on a mission to solve challenges for multiple industries with its circular and bio-inspired alternatives to industry-standard materials.

By rapidly developing versatile, bio-based alternatives to common, conventional materials; Modern Meadow hopes to quickly reduce reliance on petrochemical and animal inputs across industries, while giving brands and manufacturers sustainable options for designing and engineering next-generation products.

And hot on the heels of the fashion industry’s Deforestation-Free Call to Action for Leather comes Modern Meadow’s latest innovation, Bio-VERA™ — a high-performance, upcycled alternative to traditional bovine leather with significantly lower environmental and supply chain impacts.

Bio-VERA is engineered using Modern Meadow's Bio-Alloy™ protein/bio-based polymer miscible blend, which combines plant-based proteins with bio-based polymers to give a material the functionality of proteins. Combining its Bio-Alloy technology with a 100% renewable material — made using a feedstock of post-consumer car tires — creates Bio-VERA.

Designing for Circularity-Friendly Behaviors

Join us as leaders from BBMG and REI examine how leading brands are innovating and scaling circular models to attract new fans and earn customer loyalty, all while eliminating waste — Thurs, May 9, at Brand-Led Culture Change.

The new leather alternative offers a high-performance product that can be delivered to tanneries without the need for costly hide-preparation steps or actual tanning. Tanners can apply the same finishing processes they always have — including wet finishing, dry finishing, coloring, dyeing and grain correction — but without animal inputs or many of the negative environmental impacts associated with tanning.

"The hybrid structure of our product gives it superior performance without sacrificing the beauty and time-proven quality associated with leather," says Jeff Smith, Modern Meadow's GM of Biomaterials. “It also gives tanners a superior material to work with; there is no trade-off in terms of performance, and the major environmental impacts are eliminated.”

To ensure Bio-VERA meets or exceeds the performance requirements of multiple industries, Modern Meadow conducts extensive internal and external materials-performance testing to evaluate factors such as strength, durability, colorfastness and aging characteristics. The results have shown that Bio-VERA performs on par with, or even surpasses, animal leather — providing a sustainable alternative without compromising quality or performance.

Additionally, because Bio-VERA is made from feedstock sourced from post-consumer and bio-based polymers, partners know that the material is free of virgin plastic — reducing reliance on fossil fuels, advancing circularity of materials, and minimizing the overall environmental impacts.

"Bio-VERA provides a path for tanneries and brands to eliminate use of toxic chemicals like chrome used in tanning leather, while maximizing the use of bio-based and circular materials,” said Ann Lee-Jeffs, Senior Director of Sustainability for Modern Meadow.

This includes an exciting new relationship with BASF to supply high-quality, polymers for Bio-VERA.

"This strategic collaboration will bring together the cutting-edge biofabrication expertise of Modern Meadow with BASF's renowned Ultramid® Cycled® material; paving the way for the creation of many modern, sustainable and animal-free materials — including Bio-VERA," said Modern Meadow Chief Science & Technology Officer David Williamson.

Bio-VERA will enter markets in early 2024, with current-use cases and partnership opportunities in the accessories, footwear and automotive industries.