Real Leather vs. Vegan Leather


Baltic Leather Supply

3/12/20223 min read

Being a leather supplier, I always felt the need to share my knowledge, to educate people who aren't involved with leather as much as me.

Even though leather is considered a highly valued material, people sometimes don't quite understand why that is. I keep hearing people talk that animals are being raised for their skin, that leather is just an expensive material that creates a lot of toxic waste during the production of the tanning and dyeing process of leather. People even called me cruel for being a part of it all and called me heartless.

Today I want to share my knowledge I gathered over the years and thoughts on the matter.

First of all, most animals are not being raised for their skins to produce leather. Animals are being raised to produce meat.

Animal skins are only a by-product of the meat industry. It means that the main reason animals are raised for is meat and the skin of the animal if not used would only be thrown out into piles and piles until it would really create more waste in the world.

Thanks to the tanneries we have and talented artisans all over the world, we can reduce waste and create something useful.

Nowadays, there's a big confusion in the world thanks to the brilliant, but misleading marketing for vegan leather. It sounds good, doesn't it? Well let me tell you what "vegan leather" actually is. Vegan leather is actually just a plastic fabric that is supposed to be a more environmental alternative material to real leather, when in reality there is nothing vegan about it. Let's break it down into a few points comparing real leather vs. vegan leather:

  • Real leather is - sustainable. A product made from leather will last you quite a long time. Especially if the product was made by a skilled artisan.

  • Real leather is - biodegradable. Leather over a long period of time will completely biodegrade and won't leave any waste.

  • Real leather is - more durable. Even under rough conditions a product from a real leather will not wear out or tare apart easily.

  • Real leather is - made under strict regulations. Every tannery is under a microscope by various organisations to keep the environment clean. More and more tanneries upgrade their machinery, dyes and methods used from the past, to comply with the strict regulations and create as little toxic waste as possible. Tanneries that produce vegetable tanned leather especially, mostly use water and natural tannins from tree barks, vegetables and plants for various tanning processes which result in a cleaner environment, leather with wonderful colour, smell and durability which can last a few lifetimes.

  • Vegan leather is - made from plastic.

  • Vegan leather is - less sustainable. Products made from vegan leather will wear relatively quickly, taring, scratching and braking down in over a year.

  • Vegan leather is - not biodegradable. It means that since it is made using plastic, it cannot biodegrade completely and will leave waste for not only our but other generations as well. Yes, over time it will break down into smaller parts, but it will not just disappear. On the contrary it will break down into small parts we can't even see, and if it finds its way into water, we could end up drinking a water that has plastic in it.

  • Vegan leather is - more expensive. Yes, if you buy a bag made from vegan leather it will cost you less, but will last you maybe one or two years. You will keep having to buy a new bag over and over and in the long term you will not only end up spending more money, but also will be feeding the factories that use "vegan", or should I say plastic leather to create more plastic in the environment.

With that being said, I hope you had an interesting read and in my next blog I will be listing more reasons why you should choose real leather goods over plastic leather goods. Let's bring light to the truth and spread the word that leather is more than just a cruel act on animals, a fancy phrase or expensive material.