Depending on how you source leather, it can be harmful and toxic for the environment. Or it can be a valuable waste product that would otherwise end up in the landfill. Look, there are many arguments for both types of leather! In this blog, we’re going to discuss how animal leather and faux leather affect the environment – negatively or positively.
Animal leather is usually bi-product that would otherwise go to waste
Leather is often described as a by-product of the meat industry. This is true with leather – primarily leather you get from vintage stores. Some leather, however, is produced from animals that are rare and would otherwise not be slaughtered.
Most leather comes from the hide (skin), this represents only 10% of the cow. It is true that making use of the hides of animals killed for meat will mean that the hide will not go to waste. Fish leather is also growing in popularity because it makes use of the fish skin that usually goes to waste, and it is an alternative to reptile leathers which may threaten endangered species.
So depending on the source of your leather, you may be getting it from lenders that only use waste products. Some vendors, however, kill certain animals only for the purpose of making leather goods.
Animal leather is often dyed with Chromium which is terrible for the environment
Conventional chrome-tanned leather creates water pollution that is toxic to the natural environment and the people that rely on the water supply and eco-system. Wastewater saturated with Chromium is carcinogenic and ruins the ecosystem.
There are many documentaries out there that document tanning factories and it’s negative impact on the environment. Buy products only from vendors that use vegetable dye or other such natural dyes that do not ruin our ecosystems.
So, is Vegan Leather better for the Environment? The answer is complicated!
Unfortunately, the most common leather alternative is a petroleum-based plastic that comes with the same environmental problems as other synthetic materials. This material is called polyvinyl chloride, (PVC), which is made with fossil fuels—and it’s not biodegradable. Fibres from synthetic clothing are the biggest source of microplastic pollution in the ocean and more than 70 million barrels of oil are used to make polyester every year.
When you consider the negative environmental impact of extracting fossil fuels, using chemicals, non-natural dyes, and excessive amounts of water to create a non-biodegradable plastic leather the environmental friendliness of the majority of faux leather is something to think about!
If you love leather, choose to buy from vendors that sell accessories made from animal byproducts that have been dyed with natural products. Even if you choose to buy faux leather, choose to use it for as long as possible!
All the products in our shop are made from vege-dyed leather made from byproducts. Check ’em out – www.hinterlandfoil.com.au/shop