Whether you choose to wear leather or not, is a personal choice and it's most likelydetermined by how you view the meat industry. This article aims to provide facts where there are frequent misconceptions. The truth is that leather can be a slow-fashion material, given its ability to withstand wear and tear. At ChromeFree Leather Alliance, we believe that for leather to be truly sustainable, we should give way to newer and more sustainable tanning solutions.
Myth: It's cruel to make leather
The answer: It's complicated
Leather has a bad reputation, and we get why consumers would opt for alternatives like faux leather, which presents its own set of environmental challenges since synthetic fibres from clothing are a significant source of micro-plastic pollution in the ocean. The common perception is that it's cruel to make leather from animal hides and skin. And while we see a global decrease in meat consumption, it's hard to imagine a world where the meat industry doesn't exist. For as long as there is an industry that serves meat consumption, animal hides will continue to come out of that industry. Now more than ever, we need to reevaluate how we can create a more responsible leather value chain.
Currently, chrome-tanned (a process that gives the leather its texture and ensures that the hide doesn't rot) leather contributes to about 80% of all leather produced — which is highly toxic when not managed correctly. Chromium is also a heavy metal and has been used extensively because of how efficient and cost-effective it has made the tanning process. The only alternative that we've seen so far is Vegetable Tanning, a traditional practice that uses naturally-derived plant chemicals to purify the hide; however, this process is much less common and more time-consuming.
With the ChromeFree®Leather Alliance, we aim to make leather tanning circular by taking away the toxic and non-renewable component of Chromium and replacing it with ChromeFree®alternatives that replace Chromium without affecting the effectiveness or quality of the material.
To read the rest of this article on myths concerning leather, click on ChromeFree Leather Alliance