What is vegan leather made from?
Lower quality faux leather is often made from PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride.) It is the world’s most harmful plastic and the most produced synthetic plastic polymer globally. Phlatates are added to PVC to create its flexible consistency, which seep into the environment and are very harmful to human health. While it is better for animals, its impact on the rest of the planet cannot be overlooked.
The Ministry of Tomorrow’s products use polyurethane. It is a synthetic polymer similar to polyester and the most common material used in high quality vegan leathers. It does not require harmful chemical solvents and has a minimal environmental impact. It can also be produced with natural oils that completely biodegrade, instead of petrochemicals. It can be easily made to order in terms of colors, patterns, and textures.
Microfiber is another alternative. Synthetic or natural fibers can be mixed with Polyurethane to create a variety of animal free alternatives from ultra durable leathers to delicate micro suedes.
Cork leather is made from the bark of cork trees. It is an excellent plant-based, sustainable resource, since the bark of the cork tree can be collected without killing or harming the tree.
Pineapple leather is known as Pinatex. It is made from discarded pineapple leaves from plantations in the Philippines. It is also completely biodegradable and offers farmers an additional income opportunity.
Mushrooms, kombucha, and soy are the latest additions to the growing list of innovative sources for vegan leather. They are gaining more traction with designers and surely will be more prevalent in the years to come. Scientists are also having success growing bio-fabricated leather in labs.
The future of animal-free leather alternatives is definitely something to keep an eye on. The technology is changing and improving every year. As the market continues to grow and innovate, so will its sources and materials.