Leather is a durable and attractive material that has been used for centuries. But it’s not without its drawbacks: It can take hundreds of years to decompose, and it’s typically made from cows’ hides, which are often obtained through inhumane means. Luckily, people have come up with many other materials that serve as viable alternatives to leather – eco-friendly alternatives, even!
Here’s what you need to know about some eco-friendly materials that are becoming more popular as leather alternatives.
What is eco-leather?
Eco-leather is a material made of synthetic microfibers and polyurethane. It looks and feels like leather, but it’s an entirely man-made material designed to mimic the comfort and durability of genuine leather without the long lifespan or negative impact on animals.
What’s so great about eco-leather?
Eco Leather has significantly fewer impacts than leather: it only takes six months rather than years for it to decompose – meaning you can do your part for the environment in much less time! Plus, you don’t have to worry about animal welfare issues when buying products made out of eco-leather. Additionally, Eco Leather is easier to clean than natural leather – because it doesn’t come from an animal, it doesn’t have the pores that can trap dust and other debris.
What are the best eco-leather uses?
Eco Leather is made in a large variety of colors, so it’s not just limited to shoes and clothing – you can also find bags, furniture, or even car upholstery made out of Eco-Leather.
As we mentioned, Eco Leather can mimic real leather in look and feel – but it has its unique features: It’s resistant to stains and discoloration. So use your imagination – there’s no reason why Eco Leather can’t be used outside of shoes and clothing.
Who is using eco-leather?
What is the most common type of eco-leather?
Polyurethane Eco-Leather is one of the most common types of Eco-Leather out there: This type usually begins with a polyurethane base which is then embossed with a leather pattern. So you get all the comfort and style benefits of real leather without any of its negative impacts.
What are the types of eco-leather?
There are many different types of eco-leather, all with their benefits. Here are some of the most popular:
Polyurethane Eco Leather: This type usually begins with a polyurethane base which is then embossed with a leather pattern – so you get all the comfort and style benefits of real leather without any of its negative impacts!
PU2 Thermoplastic Polymer Cloth Urethanes: This version is made from incredibly tough materials that make your shoes or bag watertight and resistant to mold and mildew.
Chemically Modified Polyolefin: While they vary depending on the manufacturer, these kinds of eco leathers typically share qualities like high tensile strength, durability, etc.
PVC Eco Leather: This type of eco-leather is made from vinyl, meaning it’s easy to clean and also really flexible.
PU Nano Composite Leather: These types of eco leathers are incredibly stretchy and durable – but they’re also surprisingly lightweight
Plant-Based Leather: This material is made from natural plant fibers and may also include a small percentage of genuine leather fibers/shavings to give it a more premium look and feel.
Eco Leather as a flooring
Eco Leather can be used as flooring materials: Textile manufacturers often use Eco Leather to substitute for PVC floor coverings because they don’t contain harmful chemicals as vinyl does.
What are the cons of using eco-leather?
There are some drawbacks to consider before choosing eco-leather as with any product. For instance, it’s not as breathable as real leather, so if you tend to have sweaty feet, you may want to choose a different material. Also, while the downsides aren’t typically seen in shoes or jackets, some people find that their hands become clammy when touching this type of durable fabric – especially during warmer weather! However, these concerns are usually outweighed by the many benefits that come along with choosing this ultra-practical material for your new purchase.
There can be downsides like anything manufactured if you’re not buying from the proper manufacturer. When making less expensive shoes or clothes, manufacturers may add binding materials that aren’t biodegradable – so while the product itself will decompose eventually, the binding materials used to hold it together won’t. Also, while most types of eco-leather are water-resistant, being submerged in water for an extended period (days or weeks) may cause the product to break down. While these issues are rare, it’s still something worth considering if you plan on buying eco-leather products for your home.
What is the best way to buy eco-leather?
When shopping around, look for companies that make their own Eco Leather. This ensures that the entire process is controlled by one company, which means there’s less chance of anything going wrong (like an unbiodegradable binding agent, etc.). Expensive doesn’t always mean high quality either – many cheap brands produce high-quality eco-leather because they’ve perfected their manufacturing techniques.
The best way to find great Eco Leather products is by looking at reviews from other customers. These reviews will tell you everything you need to know about a product – what it’s made out of, how long it lasts, how it looks when it’s brand new and even when it begins to break down – so be sure to read through them before making your final purchase.
What are the benefits of eco-leather over traditional leather?
As opposed to traditional leather, eco-leather is typically made from a combination of non-toxic substances and materials and is vegan approved. This means that you can wear this material without worrying about your health or the health of animals. Also, since these products are typically more lightweight than their traditional counterparts, they’re much easier to manoeuvre with – especially if you plan on using your new purchase for a physical activity like running or biking.
Finally, there’s the whole issue of durability. Eco Leather is typically made from durable fabrics, so you won’t have to worry about them breaking down within months. Most types of eco-leather will last years before even starting to fade.
How is eco-leather made?
Most types of eco-leather are made by combining different materials like polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). These substances are then melted down and molded into the final product. The next step is to add softeners before it’s poured into their final shape!
If you’re wondering what makes this material so durable, remember that it also tends to be very lightweight in addition to being easy to mold. With all these qualities combined in one material, it has become prevalent in the fashion world – especially for shoes, jackets and bags.
What are some common uses for eco-leather?
Eco-leather is incredibly popular in the fashion world, making it great for creating clothes or stylish home decor. However, this material can also be found in unexpected places – like your car. Eco-leather is used frequently to replace traditional vinyl upholstery or fake leather. Some other common uses include shoes, jackets and bags.
As you may have noticed, there are many different types of eco-leather. One type might be perfect for creating a new handbag, while another might better suit manufacturing jackets.
How can you tell if a product is made from eco-leather – and should you care if it’s not labelled as such?
Of course, whenever you’re considering a purchase, always check the label to make sure that the materials are labeled as eco-leather. This way, you’ll know exactly what’s going on your body and in your house.
However, if you cannot find it explicitly stated on the label – don’t worry too much. Many companies will now use ‘leather’ as a blanket term for their entire product line. That being said, if you’re concerned about specifying eco-leather, then ask them directly. They should have no problem providing additional information about their product.
What is eco-leather upholstery?
Eco-leather upholstery is a type of eco-leather that replaces traditional fabrics like polyester and cotton. This alternative is typically more affordable than real leather, making it the perfect choice for people on a serious budget. Plus, since this material can be seen in our cars or on our couches at home, we tend to take it way less seriously than the latest fashion trends – which rules out any snobbiness.
How to clean eco-leather?
To keep your eco-leather product as long as possible, there are a few simple rules you should follow to ensure that it stays clean and pristine. Make sure that you only spot clean the material instead of using a washing machine. This will prevent any damage from occurring. If you do ever need to use detergents or soaps on your product – remember to test them out first by using them in an inconspicuous area. If everything is good to go, feel free to give your product a thorough cleaning.
What is eco-friendly leather?
Eco-friendly leather is exactly what it sounds like – eco-leather made from natural materials. This type of eco-leather is manufactured much differently than other types because instead of heating the material to melt it, this process requires that you use raw organic fibers. However, although this might sound simple enough, there’s nothing quite as complicated as making the perfect combination of all these different substances.
What is eco-leather vs faux leather?
Faux-leather is a term that applies to any non-animal leather. So in a sense, all faux leather could be considered to be eco-leather (provided the chemicals used in processing are sustainable). Faux-leather is animal-friendly, easy to work with and eco-friendly since it requires no additional chemicals like dyes or oils.
There are also different types of faux leather that you can choose from.
‘Pleather’ (which stands for ‘plastic leather’) – consists of fabric coated in vinyl. Meanwhile, vegan faux leather doesn’t contain any actual plastic at all! It’s made from renewable plant products.
Naugahyde is another popular choice for people who prefer a more expensive and luxurious faux leather.
What is eco suede?
Eco suede, also known as ‘vegan suede’, is made from synthetic materials instead of animal products – and yes, that means it’s cruelty-free! What separates eco suede from traditional suede is that this material doesn’t contain any actual animal hair in the process of being produced. If you’re looking for a vegan alternative, then there’s no better option on the market today.
In addition to being an excellent replacement for genuine cowhide, eco-suedes are often treated with special finishes to prevent them from catching stains or dirt. This makes it a great choice both for clothing and upholstery applications. Plus, since this material is available in high-end department stores, it can be used to make some seriously luxurious products.
What is plant-based leather?
Plant-based leather is any type of leather made from natural plant fibers.
What’s so great about plant-based leather?
Many people choose to use plant-based materials rather than real leather because they want to make their products as earth-friendly as possible. Some raw materials for this type of leather include jute, hemp, pineapple leaf fiber, banana bark, ramie root, linen, cotton, or even coconut husks! Like Eco Leather – it doesn’t have the pores that can trap dust and other debris. So if you’re looking for a versatile material that you can use for many purposes, plant-based leather might be the way to go.
What is Cactus Leather?
Cactus leather is made by tanning the skin of cacti. It’s most often used in fashion accessories like eyewear, shoes, belts and handbags.
What is cactus leather made out of?
The skin of any cactus can be processed into cactus leather. However, the most common cactus used is the Opuntia Cacti – also known as “Prickly Pear.” This particular type of cactus has large flat stems with spines that are removed before tanning. The skin of this type of cactus contains so much water (up to 90%) that it takes minimal effort to remove all the spines.
What are the best uses for cactus leather?
Cactus leather is often used in eyewear because of its high durability and resistance to pressure. It can also be used for clothing, shoes, belts, handbags, wallets and more. Many people choose this eco-leather alternative because it’s lighter than most other types of leather, and it fits right in on the fashion scene.
Eco-leather is an excellent alternative to traditional leather because it’s made from animal-friendly materials that are also eco-friendly. There are many different types of eco-leather available, each with its own unique set of benefits and drawbacks. We’ve looked at pleather, faux leather, vegan suede, plant-based leather and cactus leather. Each has its advantages and disadvantages depending on your needs as a consumer. Hopefully, this article has given you a good overview of the different types of eco-leather available today.