Fake leather, synthetic leather, artificial leather, and pleather are some of the names people might call leather made from polyurethane (PU) or polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Pleather is made up of polyurethane (fossil fuels) or other types of plastics like polyvinyl chloride, which is more commonly known as vinyl.
|Activists block Terminals Pty Ltd, major |
supplier of feedstock to PVC industry.
PVC production releases dioxins, persistent organize pollutants, and further toxic emissions when it's burned in garbage incinerators. The Association of Plastics in Europe (APE) states that PVC is one of earliest plastics that is derived from salt (57%) and oil or gas (43%) and according to Greenpeace, it's the second most commonly used plastic in the world and the most harmful to the environment.
PU on the other hand is not only a affordable, animal-free, leather alternative. It's recognized as being environmentally friendly, synthetic materials. Though toxicity isn't much of an issue with PU, it's still made essentially of fossil fuels, which emits carbon dioxide during production. According to APE, 3.7 pounds of CO2 is emitted when producing a pound of PU, which is a fraction of burning a gallon of gasoline (19.64 pounds). PU leather, contrary to popular belief, is actually more durable than real leather. Polyurethane itself is so versatile it's used as an insulator in many products and appliances such as refrigerators and astronaut suits. By adapting its molecules, we can give it lots of different properties. For example surfboards are made to be light yet strong, wheels on roller blades to be resistant, and automobiles for shock absorption. So if you're adamant on getting leather, be eco-friendly and consider the much cheaper polyurethane alternative.