What is Vegan Leather? Is it Really Eco-friendly?
Leather will most likely integrate into your aesthetic in some way. A fantastic leather piece may be anything from a classic belt to a vintage coat, but it simply seems to connect everything together. However, as wonderful as a fine piece of leather makes you feel, the animals engaged in its creation are likely to feel otherwise.
If this troubles you, don't worry; you can still get your favourite pieces manufactured without the use of any animal products. But what precisely is it if it isn't cow leather? Is it actually better for the animals and the environment?
We address these questions and more down below, so bookmark this page if you want to learn more about vegan leather.
What is Vegan Leather?Vegan leather and imitation leather are virtually interchangeable. Both are essentially imitation leather products that do not involve animal skin.
Vegan leather is distinguished primarily by the absence of animal skin and other byproducts. It can be constructed of plastic or plant stuff. Because of increased concern about the environmental effect of plastic-based vegan leather and its inability to biodegrade at the end of its life cycle, there is a growing movement for plant-based vegan leather.
Vegan leather is one of the fastest-growing categories of the fashion business, mainly to consumers who want to avoid purchasing things that include animal products. Concerns about animal welfare or the dangerous environmental circumstances in which leather hides are generally tanned and sewn into consumer items motivate these customers.
Also Read: 5 Common Vegan Stereotypes And Myths
How Vegan Leather is made?
Synthetic leather is created using chemicals and a different manufacturing technique than genuine leather. Vegan leather is often created by glueing a plastic covering to a cloth backing. The sorts of polymers utilised might differ, and this is what determines whether vegan leather is environmentally friendly or not.
PVC is utilised less than it was in the 1960s and 1970s, although it is still present in many vegan leather items. PVC emits dioxins, which are hazardous and can be extremely hazardous when burned. Furthermore, phthalates, which are plasticizers, are used to make it flexible. It can be quite harmful depending on the type of phthalate used. According to Greenpeace, it is the most harmful plastic to the environment.
The more recent plastic is PU, which was created to lessen dangerous chemicals generated during manufacture as well as the oil polymers used in its production.
Is Vegan Leather more environmentally friendly?
Vegan leather is never created from animal skins, which is a big victory for animal rights campaigners. However, the use of plastic in the manufacture of synthetic leather is harmful to the environment. The production and disposal of PVC-based synthetics produce dioxins, which can cause cancer. The synthetics used in vegan leather do not fully biodegrade, and can release hazardous chemicals into the environment, harming both animals and humans.
Do you know? what is more harmful?
Microfibre, a Mega Problem.
Many brands claim that their items are made of 'eco-friendly' PU (Polyurethane) microfibers, which are chosen because their 'feel' is akin to leather and can be embossed with grains that simulate suede and natural skins. But make no mistake: 'eco-friendly' PU does not exist.
Textiles and polymers are frequently stacked together and crushed multiple times over metal rollers before being submerged in a coagulation solution to solidify in the creation of microfiber-based synthetics. This chemical procedure necessitates the use of harmful compounds such as dimethylformamide, which has also been linked to cancer and birth problems, and acetic acid, which in large quantities can harm the skin and eyes.
Also Read: Conscious Consumerism
Unfortunately, most'vegan leather' is not an environmentally beneficial option. Saying it's made of cork or recycled materials is nothing more than greenwashing.
Even the most ardent vegans must acknowledge this fact: the pollution generated by most 'vegan leathers' appears to harm all other animals, including humans, in the long term. It's a sad truth, but there is hope for the future since a growing number of firms are developing creative new plant-based materials that will preserve the animals - and the environment.