Veganism is the gathering a lot of followers today. People believe in making the world a better place by stopping cruelty towards animals for our food or household requirements. The vegan life is not easy, as a good percentage of the daily necessities come from animal-based products. It is a difficult task for the beginners to keep a tab on not only what they eat but also on their purchasing patterns. Today the choices for the vegans are not limited; the market is evolving to make sure their demands are met. Alternatives to the regular products are available in the market starting from vegan milk, vegan cheese, butter to vegan soaps, toothpaste, leather products.
The growing affinity towards vegan products has encouraged researchers and startups to come up with alternative products that help make our existence on earth a more ethical and eco-friendlier one.
Artificial Leather or Synthetic Leather – An Alternative to Animal Leather Products
Vegan leather is made by using certain fabrics obtained from natural fibers or synthetic materials that give the feel and look of natural leather. This means that it is made without using any animal products and without causing any harm to them.
The natural options are made from eco-friendly, bio-degradable, and recycled materials. It is a better option considering the effects on the environment.
Plastic components such as PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) and PU (polyurethane) are used to manufacture the synthetic variant of vegan leather.
This leather makes it an excellent choice for bags, wallets, belts, and costumes without giving any guilt of animal cruelty to the consumers. The manufacture of vegan leather witness many changes, thanks to the technological advancements and the increase in the environmental awareness of the consumers.
A quick look at the different types of natural and synthetic leather and how it is made.
Natural Variants of Vegan Leather
- Paper Leather – is one of the trending things used in making wallets. The paper leather is the one that is seen on the labels of jeans. It makes an excellent option for purses and wallets.
- Pinatex – this natural fiber product is made from the leaf fibers of pineapples. This faux leather is best suited for those trendy handbags and clutches.
- Recycled Rubber –. It is excellent for the environment, as the use of recycled material will reduce landfills. The texture of the rubber is similar to that of leather, which makes it an excellent choice for vegan products.
- Cork Leather – is a kind of leather made from the bark of cork trees. This material can be used to make shoes, bags, and wallets.
- Mushroom Leather – Ever wondered, we could make leather accessories out of this non-green plant. Muskin is a type of material made from the extractions of mushroom caps, and it is synthesized to form tanned leather.
- Ligneah – is the brainchild of modern micro-laser technology. Microlaser incisions made to wood helps in creating flexible designs. It is used with cotton to make it a perfect material for home décor needs and fashion items that traditionally use leather.
Synthetic Leather Variants
- PVC – Polyvinyl Chloride – is the most common and the first type of artificial leather in the market. It is a cheaper fabric made by using PVC with plasticizers, lubricant, and stabilizers with a base component. The most common base materials used are polyester, cotton, rayon, and nylon. This form of leather contains high amounts of harmful chemicals and is a less environmentally friendly option.
- Polyurethane (PU) – PU Leather-this petroleum-based synthetic material is also one of the commonly used materials for making bags and other leather products. It can be used as a hard or soft material by the density of cross-linking its polymer units. Newer variants of PU made from castor, coconut and palm are considered to be a greener option. It is similar to the PVC in a way that, the PU coating is added to the base materials such as nylon, rayon, cotton, or polyester. Quality PU leather can be used for making stylish bags and accessories as it offers the same feel and luxury of natural leather.
- Microfiber Leather – this form of synthetic leather is an improvement of the PU leather. It is made by using a polyamide fiber base with a coating of polyurethane. This characteristic makes it more durable and attractive than the other variants. It is much lighter than the genuine leather, and it almost resembles the genuine leather in appearance, feels, and texture. This highly durable material is used in making sports gear, airplane seats, premium sofa, and shoes. Due to its unique features, it also appears to be one of the expensive materials.
People wishing for more eco-friendly options can go in for micro-fiber or the PU variants as these cause less harm to the environment. The use of natural vegan leather products will make this world a greener and better place.