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Considered the holy grail of health drinks, kombucha can do wonders for your health. It can improve your digestive system and boost your immunity. It is said to be full of vitamins and it is good for your skin. This almighty drink seems to be the answer to your health concerns and it can be the answer to the Earth’s environmental problems as well.

Scientists as well as fashion designers are turning to this trendy drink as an alternative to plastic when it comes to clothing and plastic wrappings. But how is this drink turned into a workable solid? Well, the answer is in the process of making kombucha.

To start, kombucha is said to be an ancient drink originating in China that is made out of green or black tea, mixed with sugar, bacteria and yeast. These ingredients are left to ferment for a bit over a week and then it’s flavored with fruits, juices, and herbs and spices. While the mixture ferments, a solid cellulose layer is formed on top called SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). This solid by product can be manipulated to form biodegradable leather and plastics.

Students at Queensland University of Technology have been developing a “vegan leather” material made from SCOBY since 2016. Design students have managed to create jackets, waistcoats and briefcases from the material.

SCOBY material is also being developed to be used as a solution to our plastic waste. Polish designer Roza Janusz developed a packaging material for dry and semi dry foods that can be composted or eaten after being used, which immensely cuts down the use of plastics that would take years to degrade, if they even degrade at all.

This advancement in sustainability may seem small, but more than 15 million tons of used textile waste is generated each year in the U.S. alone, according to the EPA.

With using kombucha to create this material, not only are we creating a demand for a health drink, but also making the planet greener.

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