Leather is one of the oldest and most used renewable resources that humankind has been using for more than 7000 years. Leathers made of animal skin are tanned and treated as rawhide. Although the leather itself may become dry and stiff after a while, tanned and treated ones can remain strong and flexible for a long time.
Researches show that users hesitate to use leather goods because of environmental issues. These hesitations have brought the world into developing sustainable leather products.
What is sustainability?
According to the Oxford Dictionary, sustainability is defined as the following: The degree to which a process or enterprise can be maintained or continued while avoiding the long-term depletion of natural resources.
Sustainability refers to making human beings' lives permanent while production and diversity continue to be developed. For example, human beings should fulfill the needs of daily and industrial life without “stealing” from future generations. Therefore, sustainability generally is referred to as eco-friendly products as the world gets old and polluted day by day. Especially in recent years, governments have started to legislate many laws for eco-friendly products.
What is leather sustainability?
Leather sustainability is one of the most discussed issues in the fabric industry. As today’s consumers have become more mindful and aware of environmental issues, manufacturers try to develop environmentally friendly leather for their products. This type of leather called “eco-leather” contains a limited amount of chemicals which means that the end-users are exposed to less amount of chemicals when compared to other leather types.
Secondly, leathers are strong and long-lasting fabrics that the end-users can wear or use for many years. When compared to textiles or industrial products, leather can be used longer. While textiles are worn for a couple of months, leathers can survive for years without deformation. In addition to all this, damaged leathers can be repaired in a short time. Therefore, in the long term, like 50 to 100 years, leathers are considered to be a more sustainable product than textiles or plastics.
Frequently asked questions for environmentally friendly leather:
How many years does eco-leather last?
As standard leathers can last up to 100 years, consumers tend to learn the durability of eco leather. Just like standard leathers, eco-leathers are also durable for up to 100 years.
Is sustainable leather faux?
When the sustainable term is used, many people think that some artificial elements are used in order not to cause damage to the environment. However, for leathers, sustainability means less chemical exposure. Sustainable leathers are also genuine, not faux.
What products are made from eco-leather?
Eco-leathers are used for making almost all kinds of products. These products can be listed as shoes, boots, bags, wallets, belts, accessories, and more. To conclude, anything made from leather can be made from sustainable leather as well.
Advantages of using leather
Leathers have been one of the most preferred materials since prehistoric times and have an important place in every aspect of our lives. Leathers are especially used in fashion: leather jackets, coats, shoes, or other accessories are commonly featured. There are reasons why end users prefer to use leather goods.
Leathers are extremely durable materials that have lasted for thousands of years. If nothing unnaturally intervenes to the product, leathers’ lives are approximately 100 years or more. Although some damages may occur to leather products, with simple repairs leather can be renewed.
Breathability is one of the most special features of leather, that none of the substitute materials can exude. Leathers can expel moisture naturally which makes leather unique when compared to other materials. Expelling moisture can be essential, especially for products such as shoes.
As today’s consumers tend to be more aware of the features of products they use, they look for products that have more advantages. Especially on rainy days, consumers look for water-resistant jackets or shoes. Leather is one of those products. When compared to artificial fabrics which are mainly made of plastics, leather products have a level of natural water resistance capability.
Leathers have a high level of protection from knives, needles, or other hazards when compared to standard fabrics. As leathers have natural protection, consumers tend to prefer leather goods even for military use. For example boots and gloves made from leather are used for military purposes due to the high level of protection.
Unlike other fabrics that have to be cleaned with detergents or strong cleaners, leather goods can be cleaned with a wet cloth. The leathers are breathable, it is not difficult to try leathers even after they are washed on running water.
Leather as a new sustainable
Leathers are considered to be a new sustainable product because of their high level of durability. Besides durability, advantages such as breathability, easy cleaning, high level of protection, and stylish look are other reasons why leathers are sustainable products. Every human being must contribute to the environment. Therefore, especially in recent years, with the contribution of education, consumers have started to search for sustainable products, production processes of the brands, company policies, etc. After searching for products, it is highly observed that consumers have not given up on leather as the leather itself is also seen as sustainable.