Vegan Whales… Why not?
Almost since we started making leather whales at The Greenland Fishery there’s been a worry about the environmental problems around the leather industry. And although the leather we use is often scraps, offcuts or upcycled, it’s still been through a process which is bad news ecologically; something that doesn’t sit too nicely alongside our support for clean seas and marine conservation.
What’s Wrong With Leather?
We love leather. The touch, the smell, the look, the way it ages… But…
The impact on the planet from synthetic leather is calculated as one quater of the impact per kilo of real leather. But with the rearing of the cattle factored in, along with the deforestation that causes, it has one twentieth of the impact of real leather.
The tanning process is also highly toxic to people and animals and causes huge environmental damage. Animal skins used for clothing and accessories are loaded with caustic, toxic chemicals that prevent the skins from decomposing – the very opposite of what we expect from an organic resource.Tanning is one of the most toxic industries in the world due to the chemicals involved. Chrome, a known carcinogen, is used in vast amounts; as are acids, natrium and ammonium. Groundwater near leather tanneries has been found to contain critically high levels of chromium, lead, formaldehyde and even cyanide, causing cancer and other fatal illnesses in nearby populations.
What’s Available in Synthetic Leather ?
What’s the new stuff made of?
It can be a mix of organic and synthetic fibres and could be seen as a luxury material which is an alternative to leather rather than a lesser material. It has the advantages of having far less impact on the planet – calculated as one quarter of the impact per kilo for leather – but with the rearing of the cattle included and the deforestation that causes, it is five times this figure.
This is an exciting new area which will need new methods of production as our range expands.
It is interesting that in developing leather substitutes, humans have had to bend their minds to replicate nature, and to help it at the same time.
We are contacting suppliers to get samples and to find out about prices.
Let us know what you think?