I get it! We all want to look like Christina Aguilera from the Dirrty video! We all want to achieve that hot skin-on-skin look that is only attainable by painting on a pair of leather pants. Then we undergo the classic moral dilemma; how can I look like a total sex God while also being respectful of animals and the environment? For most of us we calm our conscience by purchasing faux leather, “pleather”, or vegan leather products. These products bring us a step closer to Danny Zucko without directly harming any animals. However, our moral superiority may be in jeopardy because like everything in else in the world, pleather is also super detrimental to the environment. So pull out your faux-leather handkerchief to cry in to, and let’s begin.
Most fake leather products are made with some type of plastic. The two most common types used are polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polyurethane, which are unfortunately the two worst. Other toxic and non-sustainable ingredients include chlorine and petroleum, which doesn’t make your faux-leather boots any better for wildlife.
PVC and polyurethane plastic have become infamous by not being able to biodegrade! Rather than breaking down into other forms, it just continually breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces of plastic, which can be detrimental to terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.
Diamonds are forever? Fools! It is plastic that will pass the test of time! The scariest part of this plastic is that it eventually gets to microscopic sizes known as “microplastic” and then is ingested by animals.
There are some who are trying to create more sustainable faux-leather products using cotton, cork, or even pineapple waste!
Another problem with many faux-leather products is they have a much shorter lifespan than their animal-based counterparts. This means that many of these plastic leather products will find their way to a landfill, whereas authentic leather could last a lifetime.
Now I’m not saying to stop purchasing faux-leather products and go back to good olde leather, but we need to become smarter consumers! So next time you want to squeeze yourself in to a pair of leather pants, make sure you are finding a product that is environmentally sustainable.
Or maybe just hang those leather dreams in the back of the closet where they belong.