Fruitleather purse by Fruitleather Rotterdam - co.exist@fastcompany

Fruitleather purse by Fruitleather Rotterdam – co.exist@fastcompany

Food aficionados have long known that fruits and vegetables need not be thrown out just because they no longer look bright and fresh. Indeed, many food companies and chefs alike specialize in taking less than glorious produce and transforming it into something else.

While most of the time these end products are edible, a company out of Rotterdam has latched on to an idea that could transform how markets dispose of fruit and vegetable waste. Quite simply, Fruitleather Rotterdam takes the unsellable produce at the Rotterdam market that has been dumped illegally (stand owners must pay €0.12 per kilo to have it disposed of, thus they tend to dump it illegally instead of pay for its disposal) and transforms it into a material that can be used to make many things, including handbags.

Fruit waste being processed - co.exist @fastcompany

Fruit waste being processed – co.exist @fastcompany

The process consists of doing what chefs the world over do to turn fruits and vegetables into candies: they mash it up, cook it and dry it. By doing this on a large scale, Fruitleather Rotterdam has created a new, heavily resistant material that could be used for numerous purposes; the team has chosen to make handbags as their initial product, showing the quality that the fruitleather has and the possibilities for it to be used in other applications. The team aims to create greater awareness of the food waste problem—the market in Rotterdam alone disposes of more than 3,500 kilograms of waste every Tuesday and Saturday—and work with companies and other organizations to improve the material and create a variety of products.

By Danielle Carpenter