Why real leather is better and more sustainable than vegan leather?

I tend to love real leather, but being a vegetarian myself, I had a moral issue with using leather. So, I started researching what kind of leather I could use for my work without harming animals and what I found entirely changed my perspective on leather. Once an animal has already been killed to produce food, its skin is merely a waste product that would be thrown away and therefore wasted. By using it, we are using the whole animal and not wasting this important resource. My moral issue was resolved, but myths about leather are strongly rooted in our culture, and that is why I seek to clarify this misconception. If anyone calls you Cruella Deville because of your leather purse, now you know the truth about how I source my leather!

The question of whether real leather is better and more sustainable than vegan leather is a complex and debated topic. Here are some points to consider:

  1. Durability and longevity: Real leather is known for its durability and longevity. High-quality leather products, when well-maintained, can last for many years, sometimes even decades. This longevity reduces the need for frequent replacements and can be seen as a sustainable aspect of real leather.

  2. Biodegradability: Real leather is a natural material derived from animal hides. It is biodegradable, meaning it can break down naturally over time without leaving behind synthetic waste. This is seen as an advantage in terms of environmental impact compared to certain synthetic materials used in vegan leather, which can take a long time to decompose.

  3. Byproduct of the meat industry: Real leather is often considered a byproduct of the meat industry, utilizing the hides that would otherwise go to waste. Using the entire animal helps to minimize waste and make use of a resource that is already being produced.

  4. Water and energy consumption: The production of real leather typically involves significant water consumption and energy-intensive processes, such as tanning. Some argue that these aspects of leather production contribute to its environmental impact and make vegan leather more sustainable in comparison.

  5. Environmental concerns of animal agriculture: The meat industry, which is connected to the production of real leather, is associated with environmental concerns such as deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, and water pollution. Critics argue that supporting the meat industry indirectly by purchasing real leather may perpetuate these issues.

  6. Synthetic materials in vegan leather: Vegan leather, also known as faux leather or synthetic leather, is typically made from polyurethane (PU) or polyvinyl chloride (PVC). The production of these synthetic materials involves the use of petroleum-based chemicals and can have its own environmental impact. However, alternative materials like plant-based or recycled synthetics are emerging, which aim to reduce the environmental footprint of vegan leather.

It's important to note that sustainability is a complex concept that encompasses various environmental, social, and ethical factors. The choice between real leather and vegan leather ultimately depends on individual values and priorities. Some may prioritize the durability and natural properties of real leather, while others may prioritize avoiding animal products and reducing the environmental impact of synthetic materials. It's essential to research and consider all aspects of the materials' production, use, and end-of-life implications to make an informed decision.

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