THE GREEN GOLD OF THE FUTURE It is crystal clear to all that we need more green materials for a sustainable future, but few of us are aware that such an innovative material already exists – in leaves! With pioneering Berlin-based company LEEF in the driving seat, the road to a more sustainable future is paved in ‘green gold’. TEXT: MARILENA STRACKE I
PHOTOS: LEEF BLATTWERK GMBH
Claudio Fritz-Vietta, a designer in Hong Kong at the time, was acutely aware that something had to drastically change in the world of packaging. “I developed large quantities of products and packaging, which would quickly turn into rubbish,” he recalls. “As a surfer I kept seeing the packaging floating as waste in the Pacific every morning. It’s from that moment that my deep desire to develop sustainable products and packaging started to grow.” In India, he came across the traditional use of palm leaves: “I immediately knew that this material is so versatile that you could even build houses with it; let alone all the endless opportunities for products and packaging.” Shortly after, LEEF was founded, with Claudio at the helm. Today, LEEF is the leading producer of an astonishing range of packaging and products made from leaves. From take-away pack84
| April 2022
aging (such as trendy leaf plates sealed with compostable, fully transparent film) to mobile phone packaging and even vegan palmleaf leather. On top of this, LEEF also offers closed-loop systems and fully supplies large events – including composting the waste afterwards. With a wide range of usable materials from various plant species, and absolute sustainability as the only native climate-neutral material on the market, it’s hard to dispute the advantages of using leaves in large-scale production. Aside from outstanding features such as being watertight and greaseproof, the beautiful palm leaf also scores highly in aesthetics and haptics. LEEF also continues to research and use new sustainable resources with ingenuity and innovation. So, why aren’t we seeing this incredible packaging revolution in our daily lives? It
might be because leaves as a material are simply overlooked and considered too risky or untested by investors, as Claudio explains. Even the solution-championing LEEF is affected by this and has had to fight to secure new investments. A real paradox if you look at the massive potential of such a ground-breaking material. It might be time to turn over a new leaf and support innovative sustainability.