HOUSTON, Texas -- A Houston startup is turning kombucha tea into artificial and sustainable leather.
Bucha Bio uses plant-based ingredients including kombucha to create materials for luxury fashion, automotive and interior industries.
The company's CEO, Zimri Hinshaw, first began experimenting with kombucha a few years ago as an aspiring fashion design student at Temple University.
"I was looking to find something that didn't use animal leather and didn't use plastic, which also didn't really align with my values," said Hinshaw. "I ran across this material and realized that would be a great fit. I grew the first sheets of kombucha SCOBY underneath my roommate's bed."
Three years later, Bucha Bio now has offices at Houston's green technology incubator, Greentown Labs, and is creating a new lab at the East End Makerspace.
"Bucha Bio is not just a leather alternative company. We are creating a plethora of materials that range from packaging to hard composites to fibers," said Hinshaw. "It's important for us from an environmental impact standpoint to create the leather alternatives, the things that sort of have a close analog in the world. But its equally important to us as a technology company to be creating items that are just completely unique and completely new."
Bucha Bio hopes to become a game-changer in replacing many animal and plastic-based products.
"As a company, were looking to have an environmental impact," said Hinshaw. "And that environmental impact is absolutely going to be replacing animal, leather, plastic and petroleum-based products, and that's how were going to achieve a large impact to the environment and be part of the energy transition."
For more information, visit Bucha Bio online.