What are the environmental impacts of faux leather?
The production of faux leather has a serious negative impact on the environment. Many people feel that since artificial leather prevents the use of animal skin and does not harm the animals, hence it is a kind of environment friendly. But they ignore the fact that the raw material used in the production of synthetic leather is non-biodegradable in nature.
To make the PVC-based synthetic leather soft and flexible, many manufacturers use a plasticizer called a phthalate during its production process. The manufacturing process of faux leather uses ethylene as raw material that emits toxic substances into the environment. Moreover, a non-renewable substance such as petroleum is also used in production which increases the dependency on fossil fuel.
Many carcinogenic byproducts, dioxins, are produced during the manufacturing process of synthetic leather which is toxic in nature and harm animals and humans. In comparison to real leather, which uses organic raw materials in its production and hence biodegrades after a few years, the manufacturing process of synthetic leather uses some substances such as PU and PVC are non-biodegradable substances and do not decompose. Hence they remain in the environment for more than 200 years. This steady accumulation of these synthetic materials in the environment affects the ecosystem in a very bad way. Moreover, after getting accumulated on land for a long time, synthetic leather can release chemicals into soil and water which might be toxic and dangerous.
Considering the vegetable-based faux leather which uses organic raw material for its production is biodegradable in nature. But the market and demand for these organic and sustainable leather are very small, hence the advantages and eco-friendly properties of these leather alternatives are very limited and non-existent.