Is everything listed as non-leather, “certified vegan leather,” or faux leather automatically eco-friendly? Is faux leather (usually petroleum-based) eco-friendly just by virtue of that fact that it’s NOT leather?
Take for example Urban Expressions – a faux leather handbag company – and the title on their website: “Luxury, Vegan Leather, Eco-Friendly Handbags and Accessories.” In this case, “eco-friendly” seems like just a trigger phrase they’re hoping will entice people to buy; they give no evidence on their website that their company, products, or business practices are at all eco-friendly…
In my own opinion, not eating meat or consuming animal products of any kind is THE ECO-FRIENDLIEST way to live (although I do not live that way, nor is it easy to achieve), but substituting leather with plastic is the wrong way to go. In the short term, yes, faux leather is possibly less impactful than leather, but as a way to “be eco-friendly,” over time, I’ve really come to believe that 100% cotton canvas bags or fabric bags are preferable to faux leather. Even recently, there was a study that some faux leather bags contained trace amounts of lead (Urban Expressions made the list), which is absolutely known to be harmful.
What do you think? should faux leather bags automatically be given an “eco-friendly” pass?