The vegan-leather industry is growing, but is it actually better for the environment?
As a growing number of consumers ditch traditional leather in favor of buying synthetic leather alternatives, a number of faux leather producers have emerged to satisfy demand.
According to Bloomberg, these alt-options to leather are often cheaper. But, when it comes to the environment, it’s worth it to do your research.
*Googles ‘how to make pleather’?*
Vegan products, which are expected to be a $45B by 2025, are everywhere: Tesla describes its new Model 3 and Model Y as “fully vegan,” and vegan leather is popular in the US footwear industry.
The majority of imitation leather is made from plastic-based polyurethane. But, as the market grows, a variety of companies have developed nature-based products derived from cork, bark, apple peel, and pineapple leaves.
The online availability of vegan leather products has more than doubled in the UK and rose 54% in America between the first half of 2018 and the same period this year.
But is it actually better for the environment?
It depends on the type of synthetic: Plastic-based synthetics aren’t exactly being endorsed by Captain Planet, but plant-based leathers — like those from pineapple leaves and apple peels — can be converted into fertilizer or bio-gas.