One of the many ways in which we can be kinder to the environment is by looking for eco-friendly options. The rise of vegan leather has given us another opportunity to do our bit for the environment. This is especially true as the harm caused to nature throughout leather production is finally coming to light. Many celebrities, brands, and organizations have been promoting this alternative for a while now.

What is Vegan Leather?

Also known as synthetic or artificial leather, vegan leather uses no animal products. It is made most commonly using plastic-based components like polyvinyl chloride and polyurethane. As its use increases more and more, it is a good idea to sit down and look at all its aspects in order to decide if it’s worth it.

Material Used

Fabric that is made from PU leather undergoes lamination over a base material. Base materials can be anything from nylon, cotton, to rayon or polyester. Over this material, a wholly pure layer of polyurethane is laminated.

Is it considered eco-friendly?

Just because veganism has been touted to be helpful to the environment, that does not mean vegan leather will also be so. Concerns were raised because of the use of plastic that goes into making it. A simple look at the manufacturing process tells us that in the process of making vegan leather, a number of toxins are formed and released. Not to mention, this type of leather is not exactly biodegradable either. Because it is made from plastic and undergoes so much treatment, it’s very difficult to break its components down. From giving rise to harmful dioxins to low biodegradability, vegan leather fails to impress in this aspect.

Smooth Look and feel

Products made from vegan leather can be quite smooth and sturdy. A handbag made from good quality vegan leather would be virtually indistinguishable by sight from the same model made from leather. Vegan leather also has a certain level of grain to it. Though, when compared to real leather, the patterns tend to be more similar and uniform all over. Although, because a host of chemicals are added to this kind of leather to make it last long, it does end up having an odd smell. Often described to be fishy, this odor can also be quite difficult to get rid of. Moreover, vegan leather is unable to form that patina over it as it ages.

Where can you buy vegan leather products?

Online, there is no dearth of sites and manufacturers looking to sell a wide range of products made from vegan leather. From decorative items, belts, wallets, shoes, and jackets – the market is quite huge and continues to expand by the day. Sites like Alibaba and designers like Stella McCartney offer a great list of products to try out. Many of these brands have also been approved by PETA – so that is always an added bonus. You can also find brands that make an effort to create biodegradable products as well. If a belt has been made from PU, it is likely to be more biodegradable that one that is not.

Cheaper Price than Ordinary Leather

Vegan leather is said to be cheaper and more affordable as compared to real leather. Having said that, you should be careful that you are not compromising on quality. If you have to replace that vegan leather wallet every few months, is the price difference of any use in the long term? That is why you should try to buy this leather from famous and established businesses, as their products are likely to be more durable as well. The big manufacturers and designers of vegan leather have a common vision regarding the work they do. And that is, giving customers a great leather option that is more than just an alternative. They like to stress upon the fact that vegan leather can stand on its own in terms of looks and even biodegradability if the right kind of plastic is used.

In the end, you get to make the choice. Vegan leather offers a very real (albeit sometimes smelly) reason to stop using materials that are harmful to animals as well as humans.