Is Vegan Leather More Sustainable?

Independent reports that as more individuals diminish the measure of animal products on their plates, they’re starting to adopt an equal strategy to their closets, for example choosing faux leather over the real one. The brands that are taking note have thrived as a result.

Ethically, it makes sense to choose faux leather, with animal rights campaigners pointing to the treatment of cattle that are farmed for beef and milk, of which leather is a byproduct. Leather tanneries use noxious chemicals such as chromium to tan their leather, which are often dumped into rivers.

But vegan leather is also problematic.

Amy Powney, creative director of sustainable luxury label Mother of Pearl explains that most leather alternatives are made using synthetic materials. She adds that if people buy faux leather then they need to consider they are buying plastic.

Plastic polymers polyurethane (PU) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) are the most commonly used to produce faux leather fabrics thanks to their supple and sometimes wrinkled texture. But both pose serious environmental threats given that they are usually manufactured from fossil fuels and are not biodegradable. these clothes have a short life expectancy, which means buyers may discard their faux leather items quicker than the real leather ones, sending them to landfill.

Nowadays, the real leather trade is developing. Rachel Garwood, director at the Institute for Creative Leather Technologies at the University of Northampton, tells The Independent genuine leather is nowadays far more environmentally friendly than faux alternatives. Vegetable tanning is far less harmful than previous chemical-based processes of in leather production. Additionally, there are various initiatives such as the Leather Working Group that rate tanneries on their environmental and ethical practices that help brands to better identify good practice in their supply chain.

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