Is Vegan leather all that it's meant to be?

Is Vegan leather all that it's meant to be?

Being on a vegan diet myself for the past two years, this question was in need of a serious look through. It's well known that leather has great qualities to offer, like it's unsurpassed durability and longevity. But its environmental impacts can be pretty hefty. Not to mention the fact that it's part of an animal.   

So, what about vegan leather? Is it a better alternative? Does its benefits rival that of leather? Let's take a look. 

What is vegan leather?

Vegan leather is most commonly made from two different types of plastic polymers; polyurethane (PU) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). There are also some natural alternatives being made from things like pineapple leaves, cork, and apple peels. Needless to say, the production process of vegan leather has come a really long way!

In order to assess the sustainability of vegan leather we need to consider its raw materials and how it's made. As mentioned, the most common type of vegan leather is made of plastics, which is where sustainability issues may arise.

According to plastic-pollution.org, 'every year, 8 million metric tons of plastic end up in our oceans'. The issue of plastic pollution and degradability is where concerns arise.

A sustainability report developed in 2018 by Kering, showed that the environmental impact of the production of vegan leather is about a third lower than that of leather. This points at the fact that producing vegan leather is the more environmentally sound option. However, this does not address the degrading process of those synthetic materials. Since these plastics are not biodegradable, they add to the problem of plastic pollution.

Unfortunately, at this point the natural alternatives of vegan leather are not as durable as that of real leather. And considering that the most common and more durable types of vegan leather are made from synthetic compounds that add to the problem of pollution, it is hard to justify using it. There is nothing worse than having a handbag that you adore, only to find out that after a few years of use, the handles have started to crack, causing you to have to toss the entire bag.

While leather may not be the best option for multiple reasons, we see it as the lesser of two bad options for the time being. We feel that where an impact can be made is where we choose to source our leather from. Which is why we choose to source our leather exclusively from environmentally sustainable companies that focus on quality production standards and are part of the Leather Working Group.

More on that to come!

 

Cheers, 

Ingrid   

  

   


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published