Sometimes it can be difficult to discern what is good for us. Consider, for instance, any diet that has contradicting messages about its benefits. Vegan leather is no exception. It is possible for what may seem like a simple win to the surface to be harmful to the environment and detrimental to your health.
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Veganism is more than avoiding animal products. Vegans strictly avoid all beauty, clothing, and household products that contain animal ingredients. This reasoning is logical. It is sensible to think about how animals might be hurt for our convenience. The livestock industry is also one of the most polluting and leading causes of carbon emissions.
Related: Get your vegan jewelry fix using KEVAs cactus-leather line
Vegan labels are appealing to shoppers who care about the environment and animals. However, it is important to remember that while all leather options benefit animals, only a few actually benefit the environment. Vegan leather is therefore a viable option.
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Why is leather bad?
The hides of certain animals are what make traditional leather. To transform hide into usable leather, tanning requires a lot water. The manufacturing waste is also toxic.
What is vegan skin?
It’s not always what you think. Vegan leather is free of animal products. This is good for furry creatures as well as the land where they were raised.
But just because it is vegan doesn’t mean it is environmentally friendly. The vast majority of vegan leather is made from petroleum-based plastics, such as thermoplastic polymer (PU), polyurethane, or polyvinyl chloride(PVC). Both are toxic during production and can be dangerous during use. It can leach toxins and pollute the soil and water at the end. There is good news: Plastic-based leather produces a third of the impact of traditional leather.
Plastic leather is not only a bad alternative, but it is also a lower-quality product than real leather. It also means that it is much more likely to end in landfill than real leather. This basically makes plastic leather fashion waste.
What is it?Leather made from plant-based materials?
Vegan leather is a viable, sustainable option. It is plant-based leather. Plant-based leather is different from petroleum-based products. It uses natural materials such as apple, mushroom and pineapple.
For example, Piatex The long strands of pineapple leaves are used to make fibers. This gives another use to pineapple trees that are normally only grown for their fruit. Luxury bags such as these from Miomojo or shoes from Sylven NY use the principles of true sustainability to make their products from apple leather.
Be educated about what you’re buying
The best thing consumers can do for their purchase is to be informed. It is not uncommon for greenwashing to be rampant, making it difficult to make informed decisions. It is much easier to find sustainable leather alternatives if you are already used to looking for vegan products. But, there’s one more thing.
To protect the environment, you’ll need to identify the source of the alternative material. Look out for a sustainability statement on manufacturers’ websites. Transparency is important here. Even though the term plant-based may refer to materials sourced from plants it could also include PU and PVC. However, transparency is key.
Products that promote biodegradability can be a great option. Although the material is made from plants, it can still be recycled into leather. However, it can still be recycled and used again in the future. For non-toxic glues or dyes that are plant-based, make sure you read the material listing.
Do not buy for the latest trends, but for your longevity
An investment in the planet’s future is a longer product life. A purse that lasts 40 years is far more cost-effective than 20 less-expensive options that are prone to breaking down or ending up in the trash after a year. So if youre able to, invest in quality products. Don’t throw away your work!
If you don’t have the budget for high quality, then second-hand markets might be a good option. There are many bargains in thrift stores, where you might find exactly the item that you need at a fraction or less of the price.
Still, plant-based bags, shoes, and clothing are being introduced to the market. If you don’t find a brand that is truly sustainable, it’s possible to continue to support existing products.
Is vegan leather sustainable? It depends. You now have options for choosing the most eco-friendly products to fit your lifestyle.
Via Popular ScienceAnd Harpers Bazaar
Images via Sylven New York, and Pexels