Eluxe Magazine: 17 eco friendly and vegan leather alternative materials

These truly eco friendly vegan leather alternatives should make the naysayers abolish animal leather forever!

By Chere Di Boscio

Why vegan leather alternatives are always a better option

No consumer product is perfect. And vegan leather is no exception.

Most plant-based vegan leathers still make some use of PU or other additives either as a stabiliser in the material itself or as a backing. However, compared to animal leather or 100% petroleum-based synthetics, we think plant-based vegan leathers are still by far the most eco-friendly options available.

In fact, when done right, vegan accessories are way more environmentally friendly than their leather counterparts.

Why is real leather bad?

It should be obvious to anyone with a soul that killing animals for fashion is cruel. Animals raised for leather are almost always badly abused and neglected. They spend the last part of their too-short lives in crowded trucks, before being slaughtered, bled, and skinned. These poor animals helplessly watch in horror their companions go to their deaths. Even in their desperate state, they cannot escape.

And while some believe leather is mainly a by-product of the meat and dairy industry, that’s not 100% true. In fact, most leather comes from animals that were raised and killed not for food, but exclusively for their skin.

To make matters worse, most ‘real’ leather comes from countries where animal welfare laws are either non-existent or not enforced, such as India and China.

Bad for the planet, too!

If you still think that all that pain and suffering is justified because leather is somehow ‘natural’, think again.

Most leather produced around the world is tanned using chrome, which is highly toxic and carcinogenic. Even in developed countries like the USA, dangerous chemicals, including mineral salts, formaldehyde, coal-tar derivatives, and various oils, dyes, and finishes, some of them cyanide-based, are used. These chemicals make their way into our water table, harming wildlife and marine life, as well as human beings.

So no wonder that people who work with leather die younger and get more diseases than the average population. In fact, even in ultra-developed and regulated Sweden and Italy, studies of leather-tannery workers showed cancer risks “between 20% and 50% above [those] expected.”

And let’s not forget that raising animals for leather creates loads of waste and pollution. Or that many trees are cut down to create space for factory farms and food for cattle.

Included in the list:

  • Desserto Cactus Leather
  • Pinatex Pineapple Leather
  • MuSkin mushroom leather
  • Vegea grape leather
  • Paper
  • Cork


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