leather tanning worker moves hides in a dye vat around with his feet and hands

Leather has been a popular material in the fashion industry for centuries. It is often used to create luxurious and stylish garments, accessories, and home decor items. However, there are some shocking facts about leather that you need to know. Leather is often produced in an unethical and environmentally damaging way and has a negative impact on human health, there are many shocking truths! In this blog post, we will explore 5 of them and provide some cruelty-free alternatives.

#1. Leather Industry Is the Most Polluting Industry

The leather industry is an incredibly destructive force on the environment, releasing polluting toxins into the air and water that can devastate people and wildlife. Leather production leads to deforestation, water pollution, and the endangerment of local species populations due to habitat loss. Not only does this affect local environments, but it also has global implications. Animal farming of cows, goats, or sheep for leather production uses large amounts of land and resources, leading to extreme overgrazing and soil erosion in many parts of the world.

The industry also relies heavily on using all sorts of harmful chemicals, such as chrome tanning agents, sulfuric acid, dyes, and many others, which eventually contaminate rivers or oceans. Stopping the production of leather may be impossible but taking action against it through lessening consumption is a great way to reduce its negative impact on our planet.

#2. Leather is often treated with harmful chemicals

Leather is a durable material made from tanned animal hides and skins. Unfortunately, many of the leather tanning processes used to bring life to the material involve using naturally harmful chemicals such as chromium and formaldehyde. These chemicals have been known to irritate and, in extreme cases, have even been linked to various forms of cancer due to poor ventilation or long-term exposure.

It's important that we take measures to ensure these toxic substances aren't released into our environment, which requires us to perform further research on better preservation methods and shift away from using these unhealthy chemicals. We must also do what we can to raise awareness amongst consumers of leather goods so they understand where their products come from and can make responsible decisions when it comes time for them to purchase items made with leather.

#3. Most leather comes from cows

Leather has been a material of choice for centuries, with its great durability and luxurious look often making it an ideal choice for fashion. However, the source of leather is less than ideal. Most leather used today comes from cows that have been kept in cramped conditions and mistreated to raise them quickly and cheaply so they can be slaughtered for their product. It's a horrible reality that few are aware of due to the often-opulent aura that surrounds leather goods.

This makes it even more important to make ethical choices if one decides to purchase or use leather pieces--seek out certified humane sources, investigate where your hides came from, and buy used when possible so as not to support the cruel commercial meat industry.

#4. Leather production causes animal suffering

Many people who wear leather don't think about the fact that it is a byproduct of the meat industry. This means that animals must be slaughtered to produce clothing, accessories, and other items made from leather. Even when hides are collected from animals who have died naturally or due to a hunting accident, much suffering is still involved.

The animals are often subjected to long-distance transport, confinement, and sometimes even skinned alive before their hides can be processed into leather. In addition, most leather production processes involve the use of dangerous chemicals which may cause harm to workers or those living near tanneries.

#5. Sustainable leather alternatives are available

If you're looking for an ethical and sustainable way to enjoy the benefits of leather, there are some great eco-friendly options. Plant-based leathers such as Piñatex are made from pineapple leaves, cork leather is produced with waste material from cork oak trees, and various other products made from mushroom skins, apple leather, and even lab-grown leather are being developed. Make sure to read our post on “Five Cruelty-Free and Sustainable Alternatives to Leather” here

These alternatives use fewer resources and chemicals while providing the same look and feel as traditional leather. By shifting away from animal hides to these innovative materials, we can reduce animal suffering associated with producing leather goods and help preserve our planet's precious resources.

In Summary

Leather has become a popular material for clothing and accessories but comes with an ugly truth. Most leather is produced from cows raised inhumanely for their skin, leading to animal suffering and environmental damage due to toxic chemicals in the tanning processes. Thankfully, many sustainable alternatives utilize plant-based materials or lab-grown leather. By choosing these options, we can ensure that our fashion choices don't come with a high cost to animals or the planet.

If you want to make an eco-friendly choice - Strong Suitcases’ goods are definitely for you. Take a look at our full collection of high-quality vegan and eco-friendly bags. And feel free to contact us if you need any help.

1 comment

Adam Stucki

Adam Stucki

Glad I found your blog!! Thank you for the informative article. I totally agree!


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