Welcome to the topic “Everything You Need To Know About Vegan Leather.”
Veganism was a fringe movement in the past, and it was considered as a lifestyle that required willpower, creativity and dedication in order to navigate through the lack of vegan resources in the world. Nowadays, veganism is seemingly unstoppable and is taking most of the western world by storm, and there are no signs of it slowing down.
Veganism is forecast to grow in line with the increase in the available vegan products. Many people are not sure what is vegan leather? As they are not aware of it. The environmental benefits are one of the main advantages of a vegan lifestyle, as the livestock that is required to produce meat, dairy and leather is taking up the majority of the farms and make shocking levels of greenhouse gas emissions, thus contributing to climate change.
What is vegan leather?
Any material that resembles the aesthetics of the animal leather but doesn’t use any animal products at all is called vegan leather. Usually, leather is made from the tanned hides of an animal, but vegan leather utilizes various synthetic and natural materials in order to emulate the appearance of animal leather. As there are no animals involved in making vegan leather, therefore, there is no need for the death or suffering of an animal.
How is vegan leather made?
Different chemicals are used to produce synthetic leather, and its industrial process is different from the real one. The most common way to make vegan leather or faux leather is bonding together a plastic coating to a fabric backing. Another type of plastic that is used in these coatings varies and defines whether it is eco-friendly or not.
Although PVC is not much used as it was being used in the 1960s and ’70s, one can still find it in the composition of some vegan leather. Dioxins are released by PVC that is potentially dangerous in the confined spaces and very dangerous if burnt. PVC also uses plasticizers like phthalates to make it more flexible. It depends on the type of phthalate that is used; it is incredibly toxic.
PU is considered as more modern and slightly less damaging plastic and is continuously being developed technology to reduce its flaws like the hazardous toxins that it releases during manufacturing. The oil-based polymers that PU is made of uses fossil fuels.
Different types of vegan leather
There is a whole host of vegan leather that is available out there. Most people haven’t heard of what is vegan leather, but almost everybody has heard of fake leather pleather, but in reality, vegan leather span is way beyond the core options. One of the main selling points of a vegan diet is that it has various environmental benefits of cutting out animal products.
Now there are a variety of innovative plant-based leathers that are being produced to reduce consumption by utilization of the organic matter like fruit peels and leaves. There are various types of leading vegan leathers that are used today and can be separated into the synthetic and plant-based varieties.
Polyurethane leather is also known as Pleather is made when polyurethane coating is laminated to a base material like polyester, cotton or nylon. This newly laminated surface can then be treated to emulate the animal leather grain. It usually is done by running a textured roller across the fabric’s laminated face.
Good quality polyurethane indeed shows what is vegan leather and is a flexible, resilient and durable fabric that can be applied easily to a variety of products. It can very well mimic the appearance of leather, especially when it is well-designed.
Polyvinyl Chloride leather (PVC)
Polyvinyl chloride is an innovation also known as PVC or only vinyl and is a versatile plastic that has a long list of applications. It is used in car parts, flooring, pipes, plastic furniture and much more. When it is about faux-leather, PVC is manufactured the same way as polyurethane.
A PVC coating is bonded to the fabric’s base layer, and then it is textured. This results in a material that is quite similar to polyurethane leather in terms of its composition and aesthetics.
Various types of plastic and rubber can be treated and processed to form vegan leather materials. Different types of plastic waste and rubber include plastic bottles and old car tires.
Plant-based vegan leathers
The food waste that is produced by the juice and cider operations has proven to be an excellent resource for a breed of sustainable vegan leather. Some companies have succeeded to make a name for themselves by processing apple into the leather. In apple leather, the pulp from apple residue is treated, rolled into strips and it is then heated to result in a sturdy and flexible material that is fully biodegradable.
Pineapple leather or Pinatex is an innovative type of vegan leather that is made from the pineapple leaf fibre. Pineapple leaves are usually discarded after pineapple harvesting, whereas Pinatex requires no additional raw environmental resources for production. During production, it does require polyurethane coating, but the fact is that Pinatex is chiefly made from the waste harvesting matter.
This is a 100% vegetal based leather alternative and defines what is vegan leather. MuSkin is made from the fungus that is known as Phellinus ellipsoideus. When it is harvested, the caps of mushrooms are treated and processed with a natural substance like wax. A completely natural process results in a highly textured material that boasts an exciting grain that is quite similar to animal leather.
Oat milk is continuously picking up steam, so vegan leather is also not going anywhere. Though polyurethane is unsustainable technically, yet different plant-based innovations are emerging across the board to help to reduce the use of this resource that is finite. It can be more sustainable to purchase one leather item that can last for a long time than purchasing vegan leather items that might need replacing. Vegan leather does offer a cruelty-free alternative to animal leather and is the most crucial factor for most of the vegans.
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