Why Faux Leather Isn’t Necessarily The Healthy Or Environmentally Friendly Option
Faux leather has been popular for decades. The problem, however, is most pleather, faux leather and vegan leather belong to the fossil fuel industry, and there is no system in place to recycle it – consequently paving the way for ridiculous pollution and climate change.
On November 1, Kylie Jenner presented a collection of 12 pieces of clothing made almost exclusively out of “faux leather”. While the pieces seem well made, they are made from industrial quantities of plastics and they will be with us for ever.
No Legislation Regulating The Production Or Use
The high street is also full of it. For many, animal-free materials are an ethical choice. But faux leather isn’t necessarily the healthy or environmentally friendly option. Currently, there is no legislation regulating the production or use of these materials.
While single-use plastic bags are prone to taxes, a brand spewing out plastic clothes majorly isn’t. According to Jocelyn Whipple from The Right Project, “there must be a clear understanding of the whole life cycle of the product and, ultimately, what happens at the end of its life.”
There are many new materials in development, including those using bacteria or agricultural waste as a source. As with a lot of real leather, however, a layer of PU (polyurethane leather) is often needed to make them durable. And mixed materials coated in PU can’t be recycled.
It Will Take Time For Change To Happen At Scale
New solutions have to move away from these coatings. Dio Kurazawa, founder of the Bear Scouts, is developing a promising material from carob. The shells are ground into powder to make a leather-like material which, he says, is comparable in terms of durability.
But it will take time for change to happen at scale. Yayra Agbofah’s Revival finds creative ways to manage global textile waste in west Africa. He says “consumers in the global north should think about the negative impact of their clothing consumption on the global south.”