The battle between Vegan Leather vs Real Leather continues and will continue for a long time. Let's show you the differences so you can decide for yourself.
Every year, the leather industry, including the manufacturing of both animal skins and synthetic leathers such as pleather, processes a whopping 1 billion square feet of leather. Yet, in the crosshairs of fashion and sustainability, vegan leather, often referred to as synthetic leather or pleather, and real leather are locking horns, with synthetic materials and synthetics offering alternatives to traditional animal hides.
Vegan leathers, including pleather, promise a future free from animal harm, crafted from synthetics or natural materials such as plastics or plants. However, their sustainability is questioned due to environmental impact lingering through production woes and stubborn non-biodegradability.
On the flip side, genuine leather touts durability that might outlive its synthetic rivals, such as faux and vegan materials, yet it's tainted by toxic tanning chemicals, hefty natural resource demands, and the environmental impact of plastic surfaces.
As consumers navigate this complex landscape of fake leathers, genuine hides, and vegan products, deciphering which is kinder to our planet becomes as tangled as the materials, including plastic ones.
Understanding Vegan Leather and How It's Made
Vegan leather offers a genuine, kinder alternative to real leather without harming animals, avoiding the use of plastic or synthetic products. It spans from plastic-based materials, often termed vegan leather or synthetic leather, to innovative plant-derived options for leather products and fake leather alternatives. Definitively a great point for that leather in the battle Vegan Leather vs Real Leather.
What Is Vegan Leather
Vegan leather, a fashionable alternative material, isn't crafted from animal skin but often utilizes plastic to mimic traditional leather products. That's right, no cows or other animals are hurt by these vegan materials, often referred to as vegan leather or fake leather, as opposed to real leather.
It's also called vegan faux leather or fake leather because it looks like the real deal but isn't made from animal-derived materials, aligning with fashion products that prioritize cruelty-free sources.
Various Vegan Materials
Many high-quality vegan leather products are out there, made from animal-free materials. You've got fake leather ones made from plastics and vegan leather that come straight from plants, as opposed to products crafted from genuine leather.
- Synthetic leathers like pleather (that's plastic leather) – the most common one is Polyurethane or PU.
- Discover new plant-based vegan leather options that are super cool and environmentally friendly, offering a sustainable alternative to plastic leather and fake leather without compromising the luxurious feel of genuine leather. A good point for vegan in the battle Vegan Leather vs Real Leather.
Pleather and Imitations
So, pleather is just one type of vegan leather. And yep, it feels pretty close to genuine leather! Other imitation leathers, including faux and vegan options, too, try their best to act like the real thing.
- They look like genuine leather.
- They feel pretty similar too.
Making Vegan Leathers
Making vegan leather, which can be real or faux, is a bit like a science project. They mix up chemicals and materials until they get something that looks and feels like genuine leather, often referred to as faux leather or vegan leather, rather than real leather.
So, imagine you're mixing up stuff like a mad scientist in your cool science class, creating vegan leather that feels just like real leather. You're experimenting with faux leather alternatives, aiming for that genuine leather texture. That's what they do to make vegan leather! They stir and mix different vegan ingredients together until it's just like, “Wow, this kinda looks and feels like real leather!”
Oh boy, vegan leather sounds super cool 'cause no animals are hurt, right? But yikes, making vegan leather and faux leather can be kinda icky with all those chemicals, unlike real leather! It's like when you're trying to craft with real leather, faux leather, or vegan leather but end up making a big mess instead of a super neat project.
Vegan leather is 100% not biodegradable… a big downside – the battle of Vegan Leather vs Real Leather is getting tougher!
How Are Polyurethanes Made?
Polyurethanes, a key component in the production of faux leather and vegan leather, are formed by reacting a polyol with a diisocyanate or a polymeric isocyanate, contrasting with real leather which is an animal-derived material. This reaction occurs in the presence of suitable catalysts and additives.
PU factories look like petroleum refineries:
Many try to find a way to make vegan leather that doesn't make the Earth sad with all that yucky stuff. Vegan plant-based leather seems to be the solution, but it’s not 100% ready, and the process is also a bit icky and involves industrial. Agriculture meaning heavy use of pesticides, fertilizers, and herbicides, impacts not only food production but also the production of real leather. Alternatives like vegan leather and faux leather are becoming more popular… read more here.
Eco-Friendly Aspects of Real Leather
Let’s look at real leather in the battle of Vegan Leather vs Real Leather.
Unlike vegan alternatives, real leather is super tough and lasts a really long time. It's cool because real leather returns to the earth when you're done with it, unlike vegan leather and faux leather.
Plus, using real leather means we don't waste any parts of the animal, which is pretty neat 'cause nothing gets thrown away, unlike synthetic alternatives that may not align with a vegan lifestyle!
Genuine leather is tough. It's like your favorite pair of faux leather jeans that get better with time, just like vegan leather vs real leather. When you buy a real leather jacket, it could hang around longer than your tallest sunflower in the garden!
Think about it like a vegan leather superhero toy versus a faux leather paper airplane. The superhero's vegan leather might get some scratches, but it stays awesome for years. The paper plane? A few flights and it's done for.
Vegan materials are kind of like the paper airplane. They try hard but can't keep up with the leather-clad superhero for long.
Leather comes from animal skin. And just like leaves falling off trees, it, much like leather, returns to the earth eventually. This means when you're done with your leather boots. They won't stick around forever as plastic bags do at a picnic party nobody cleans up after, unlike durable leather goods.
Now imagine fake leathers – they're more like those plastic bags. Made from plastic, not biodegradable like leather, they can hang around so long that even your grandkids might see them!
Whole Animal Use
The leather industry is smart about using animals. When people eat meat, there's more left over than just bones and leather scraps for other uses!
They take what’s left and turn it into things we can use – like leather handbags, shoes, or baseball gloves. If handbags, shoes, and jackets were all made of vegan leather, imagine the impact on the environment getting rid of unused cowhides…
Fake leathers don't do this trick. They're made fresh from chemicals and leather stuff that doesn't help us use everything up.
Comparing Durability and Quality: Vegan Leather vs Real Leather
Let's get down to brass tacks. You've got vegan leather, often praised for its modern, cruelty-free vibe, and then there's real leather, with a rep for being tough as nails.
Imagine vegan leather like your favorite pair of sneakers – they look slick and feel light, but after a marathon of wear and tear, they might start to show their age.
On the flip side, think of real leather as that trusty old baseball glove – it gets better with every catch because it can handle the heat.
Now it's your turn to weigh in. Are you team plant-based pizzazz or squad classic leather craftsmanship?
Whatever floats your boat, remember that your choice of leather has a ripple effect on Mother Nature and our furry friends.
Conclusion for Vegan Leather vs Real Leather
Okay, so, like, when we talk about vegan leather vs real leather, it's kinda like a superhero showdown, but without a clear champ.
Even though real leather comes from animals and can go back to the earth all-natural when you're done with it, it's not totally a good guy because making it can be pretty tough on our planet.
Even though vegan leather sounds super cool and kind to animals, it's kinda like making a craft project with lots of chemicals and energy. It doesn't break down and go back into the earth like a banana peel or a leaf would.
That means it can stick around for a really, really long time without disappearing. We gotta think about that when we choose what kind of stuff we want to use and wear!
Talking about plant-based leather is like opening a big can of worms! It's kinda like when you think you're doing a super good thing for the planet, but then you realize there's more to the story.
Sure, it's made from plants and not cute cows or chemicals, so that's a thumbs up. But hold on a sec because growing all those plants can also be tough on Mother Earth.
They need lots of water, land, and yucky chemicals to help them grow. It's like cleaning your room but shoving everything under the bed. Looks clean, but there's still a mess hiding!
What is the solution? Everything we consume needs energy, chemicals, and has an environmental impact. So, let’s pick a handbag we really like, take care of it, and when we are done with it, let’s recycle it.