What are the most sustainable alternatives to animal leather and why should you stop buying leather?
Sustainable fabrics or materials that are sustainably grown, harvested and processed. In the ideal world, there would not be involved any:
- pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides,
- chemicals or toxic dyes,
- forced labor, children, modern slavery,
- sexual and physical abuse,
- animal harm, abuse, or torture.
Farmers and workers across the whole supply chain would receive fair and a living wage. They would also work in fair and good working conditions.
In their natural state, animal fur and leather are biodegradable. So what is the issue with leather?
Well, there are several but just name a few:
- Leather tanneries are responsible for polluting water systems because of the toxic dyes.
- Deforestation – when farmers clear tropical forests to make space for cattle.
I used to wear recycled fur and leather jackets but I am not comfortable wearing these materials anymore. It is not ethical, but I know that it is a personal decision and I am not here to judge anyone.
If you really want to wear leather, look for vintage garments at second-hand stores. It is the most ethical and sustainable way to purchase leather.
If you buy new leather clothes, choose a brand that is part of the Leather Working group. A not-for-profit membership organization that is trying to improve practices across the industry.
Examples of animal leather alternatives:
- Fish skin leather (check Swiss brand Tallis that uses fish leather).
- Piñatex ® (pineapple leather). Check Ananda Zurich that makes handbags from this material. You can now get 15% off your purchase with code “MIRIAM” at checkout.
- Apple, vine, cactus, mushroom, or cork leather.
BEWARE of SYNTHETIC VEGAN LEATHER which is made of PVC (polyvinylchloride) or PU (polyurethane plastic).
They are just “sexier” names for plastic. You cannot recyclable them and they do not biodegrade. Their production depletes the planet of non-renewable natural resources.
Which of the most sustainable alternatives to animal leather would you like to try?
Let me know in the comments below.