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Vegan stuff is great! From ice cream to pepperoni pizza, a “Vegan Friendly” label usually means you’re automatically good to go ahead with buying it. But when it comes to vegan leather, it isn’t always that simple. Some faux leathers are just plastic. That’s not very sustainable! Nor is it very fashionable. Here are a few interesting vegan leathers that actually help the environment instead of hurting it.
Pineapple leather is awesome. It was invented and patented by Ananas Anam, who called it Piñatex. They are the only company that makes this plant leather and are dedicated to making their production as eco-friendly as possible!
Instead of using the yummy yellow flesh of the fruit, this leather makes use of its leaves which are normally just thrown away or burned, which releases carbon emissions. The pineapple leaf fibers are combined and compressed to make the thin layer of sustainable leather through an extraction and purification process.
While regular leather tanning can be toxic to laborers, pineapple leather actually supports rural farming and is completely safe. Waste from the process can be used as fertilizer or biogas, making the whole leather process a closed leaf production.
Where to buy it: Unfortunately, Ananas Anam only makes the Piñatex and sells it to other companies. You can buy Piñatex from an incredibly wide range of clothing stores – keep your eyes out for it! Check out this Piñatex Card, Coin and Key Pouch!
While the thought of wearing cactus straight from the ground sounds horrible, cactus leather is actually a wonderful textile option!
If anyone knows anything about cacti, they know it doesn’t need a lot of water to thrive – which automatically already makes it better than plenty of other leather or textile options out there. Cactus leather is incredibly efficient. Just three leaves of the plant are required for one linear meter of leather.
Cacti are also really great for the environment in general. They naturally restore soil fertility and absorb a lot of carbon. The desert plant is also incredibly tough and adaptable, which means it can thrive in a variety of environments.
Where to buy it: CLAE is one of many great brands to consider when looking to buy cactus leather. The company makes PETA-approved sneakers that are stylishly sustainable! Check out a pair of CLAE cactus material sneakers and a Santa Playa Cactus Leather Electronics Case!
As the name suggests, cork leather is made from the cork oak tree. What makes this leather especially interesting is that the tree is not damaged at all during the cork removal process. In fact, removing the cork actually helps the tree’s regeneration process and keeps it nice and healthy!
Like the cactus plant, the cork tree absorbs a significant amount of carbon. Cork leather is surprisingly simple to make. The cork is boiled, flattened… and that’s it! This whole process is completely safe for laborers and produces no waste. The final product is also recyclable since it can always just be ground up and reused. To make matters better, cork leather is a great thermal insulator and is hypoallergenic.
Where to buy it: HowCork is the perfect place to go for all your cork needs. From sunglasses, to bags, to yoga mats, they’ve got you covered on every base! Check out this Vegan Cork Leather Belt by Corkor!
Patented by FRUMAT, apple leather is made from the parts of the apple usually thrown away. Skins, stems, seeds, and cores are all turned into cellulose powder. That powder is then made into durable plant leather.
The apple leather process has a low carbon footprint, although it is important to keep in mind that it is often sometimes with plastic or polyurethane.
Where to buy it: Immaculate Vegan has an extensive curated selection of apple leather products from shoes, to bags, to belts.
Don’t just settle for the low-quality faux leather that will fall apart in a few months. There are so many interesting, durable and sustainable leather options out there. Always remember to read the textile tag to know what’s in the piece though. Many fibers cannot be recycled if they’ve been blended so if that’s important to you, remember to check! Have fun shopping and living sustainably!
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Easy Ways to Help the Planet:
- Eat Less Meat: Download Food Monster, the largest plant-based Recipe app on the App Store to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy. You can also buy a hard or soft copy of our favorite vegan cookbooks.
- Reduce Your Fast Fashion Footprint: Take initiative by standing up against fast fashion Pollution and supporting sustainable and circular brands like Tiny Rescue that are raising awareness around important issues through recycled zero-waste clothing designed to be returned and remade over and over again.
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- Do What You Can: Reduce waste, plant trees, eat local, travel responsibly, reuse stuff, say no to single-use plastics, recycle, vote smart, switch to cold water laundry, divest from fossil fuels, save water, shop wisely, Donate if you can, grow your own food, volunteer, conserve energy, compost, and don’t forget about the microplastics and microbeads lurking in common household and personal care products!