Backed by IIT-Kanpur, Phool.Co has made 'Fleather' out of temple flowers and farm waste.
Phool.Co, a venture by a Kanpur Flowercycling Pvt. Ltd has acclaimed the honour of BIRAC Innovator Award 2021 for making 'Fleather', a bio alternative to animal leather. Backed by IIT-Kanpur, Phool.Co has made this biomaterial out of temple flowers and farm waste but it performs almost like leather. Besides being an eco-friendly substitute, fleather can be customised for aesthetic expression, flexibility, density and strength.
Faux leather- the art of sustainable fashion
Founded in 2017, Phool Co. is at Startup Incubation and Innovation Centre (SIIC) at IIT-Kanpur and has developed the 'fleather' material on the principles of biomimicry. This is a means to sustainable fashion and the product, as well as its production, will help to cut down the pollution caused by several traditional downstream leather tanning industry. Meanwhile, the manufacturing units will open an archway of job opportunities to women from the marginalised sections of society.
Recognising these efforts, the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) under the council of the Indian Union has awarded Phool Co. with the Innovator Award 2021. The non-profit organisation of BIRAC aims to empower emerging biotech enterprises to undertake strategic research and innovation, addressing nationally-relevant product development needs.
Vegan, eco-friendly fleather will also help to solve the Ganga's floral waste disposal problem
The selection for BIRAC Innovation Award was made by an eminent jury to offer recognition to the most significant contributors to research-based scientific innovations. Professor Abhay Karandikar director, IIT Kanpur said: "I am happy that Phool has been recognized for its work. It is not only a great business but also a great workplace providing livelihood to more than 100 women from the marginalized section of the society."
Ankit Agarwal, founder of Phool.Co said, "We humans love leather. It delivers status, luxury and comfort. But leather is a co-product of the livestock industry that produces around 18 per cent of the total earth's greenhouse emission. Fleather can perform like leather while significantly cutting down the emission and reusing temple and farm waste."