Vegan leather can make you look and feel good because it’s cruelty-free. More than a billion cows, pigs, goats, sheep, alligators, ostriches, kangaroos, and even dogs and cats are cruelly slaughtered for their skins every year. The tails and horns of many of these animals are cut off without painkillers, and some are even skinned and cut apart while still conscious. By contrast, vegan leather offers a killer look without any killing.
Vegan leather is often made from polyurethane, a polymer that can be made to order for any designer’s whim. It can also be made from innovative and sustainable materials such as pineapple leaves, cork, apple peels, other fruit waste, and recycled plastic and used to create products that put animal skins to shame.
Is vegan leather expensive?
You can usually find great quality vegan leather with the same durability as regular leather, though it will be more expensive than average faux leather. There are a few other factors to take into consideration.
Turning skin into leather takes loads of energy and a toxic brew of chemicals—including mineral salts, coal-tar derivatives, formaldehyde, oils, dyes, and finishes, some of them cyanide-based. Tannery waste contains water-fouling salt, lime sludge, sulfides, acids, and other pollutants.
Vegan leather is often a lot thinner than real leather and much more light weight which is great for fashion as it makes it potentially easier to work with, however it also makes it less durable than real leather. This is because it’s cheaper to produce synthetic plastic leather than it is to produce real leather.
The Downside of Faux Leather
Faux leather is a material made out of PVC (polyvinyl chloride), polyurethane, or polyamide microfiber. Faux leather made out of PVC is known to be potentially harmful to your health. Faux leather also leaks toxic chemicals into the ground when placed it landfills, and emits toxic gasses when burned in an incinerator.
If you really need something new, do your research to find something that fits your style and moral code—demand for more sustainable products is the ultimate fuel for better, more environmentally-friendly products.