Beware of Vegan Leather

It’s truly amazing to see more and more existing brands take sustainability more seriously and new eco-brands popping up one after another. The industry seems to be responding to our demands for greener products.

But here's the catch.

As we become more conscious of what we buy, looking for labels that denote sustainability in one way or another, some companies are also taking advantage of this by “greenwashing” their products. In other words, making us think that something is eco-friendly when it is not.

One of the prime examples of greenwashing is “Vegan Leather.”

While some vegan leather are made of natural materials such as cork, much of vegan leather today are made from Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC). Although PVC is certainly vegan in the sense that it is not made from animal parts or byproducts, it is unfortunately one of the most toxic fabric choices out there.

Unlike natural fibers, PVC is a type of plastic and will not biodegrade in nature. So it will end up sitting for centuries within landfills while leaching toxins out into the environment. In addition, the manufacuring of PVC also creates a type of toxic byproduct called dioxins, the most carcinogenic synthetic chemical ever to be tested in labs. These chemicals have been found within whales deep in the ocean, polar bears up in the far north, and even in humans and newborn babies. It is a global pollutant that not only harms the health of wild animals, but also that of our own.

The staggering amount of evidence for health risks associated with PVC should be enough to make anyone, vegan or not, think twice before buying into this evil deception masked by greenwashing.

For healthier alternatives to PVC leather, keep an eye out for vintage leather, cork leather, pineapple leather (such as the branded Piñatex), up-cycled leather, etc.

*For more detailed information on vegan leather, check out this article from Eluxe Magazine.