In the kombucha process, very little SCOBY actually goes to waste. The old SCOBYs can be saved in jars and used to make more SCOBYs.
But in recent years, SCOBYs have been studied for use in “medicine, textiles, and as a food additive.” It can actually be harvested, dried, molded, and used to make 100% biodegradable vegan leather.
It can be grown and created much easier than traditional leather because no animal products are needed. During the growing process, the material can be manipulated to be as thin, thick, or flexible as desired.
Biomaterials have been slowly gaining more popularity in the fashion industry, from Microsilk (fermented yeast spun into clothing fibres) to leather made from mycelium mushrooms. SCOBY leather is just another example of this. Suzanne Lee is one of the leading professionals in the field of SCOBY leather with the Biocouture research project and her own company BIOFABRICATE.