The animal product industry is not a sustainable one. Rainforests and natural habitats are burned down for cattle farming, and the amount of methane they produce is enormous. Not to mention the animal cruelty that comes with the meat industry. I’m not a vegetarian, but I only eat meat when I go out to dinner or my mom makes it when I visit.

There has been a lot of popularity over “vegan leather”. What is vegan leather? most of it is polyvinyl chloride, or PVC. PVC is made up of monomers of vinyl chloride compounds (H₂C=CHC) combined in polymerization. (Sorry, I’m a science major and couldn’t resist). The result is PVC that can be either in a rigid or flexible form. Rigid PVC is rather effective in protecting the environment  due to its low greenhouse gas emissions and conservation of resources and energy. It is sturdy and resistant to water, so it’s often used in piping, flooring, and roofing.

Vegan leather, however, is flexible PVC that is condensed into fabric. Plastic synthetic fabrics like polyester and nylon pose a significant threat to the environment. Because plastic shreds in the wash, it leads to microplastics in our water systems that cannot be filtered out. Even if you don’t wash your vegan leather, it is prone to flaking and wears out quickly. This leads to buying new vegan leather, and continuing harmful plastic production and consumption. I would not say vegan leather is sustainable.

What’s a good alternative to vegan leather?

Recycled leather or used leather products. Use items that are already in the waste cycle or buy things made of recycled leather limits the amount of animals used for leather products, and prevents cheap plastic clothing from being funded. These are my only and favorite leather piece: these Teva booties are third-hand. My sister bought them on Poshmark and eventually gave them to me. They’re super durable, and are 100% waterproof leather. I wear them everywhere in the spring and fall! Do you have any recycled leather items?

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