Leather is tanned animal skin. Vegans are people who reject the use of animals as food. This includes meat and fish, as well as dairy products, eggs and honey. Therefore leather, down, silk or animal wool are also ethically unacceptable to vegans.
On the internet and elsewhere, cell phone cases or ladies’ handbags "made of vegan leather" are commonly sold. Since "leather" must be an animal product, vegan leather is not "leather". The materials then rarely consist of natural plant substances, but mostly of plastics. IMPORTANT! Many people associate natural substances with "VEGAN" because the term is used in nutrition. However, product alternatives to leather are almost exclusively raw materials based on plastic products, i.e., mostly artificial leather with the problem of low durability, combined with the problem of plastic waste and the worldwide occurrence of microplastics. In addition, when a product is labeled as "vegan", vegan does not automatically mean that these products are environmentally friendly, that these products are biodegradable or that the materials can be recycled. To put it bluntly, even nuclear waste can be called vegan because it contains no animal substances.
In some countries the labeling of products with the term "vegan leather" can lead to warnings and penalties due to the incorrect declaration due to the standards for the labeling of leather and leather products.
Vegan leather is especially sold as shoes. Leather is a very durable material and is an ideal raw material for shoes because it is breathable, tear resistant and insulating. It is not easy to achieve the same properties with substitute products.
In addition to "killing animals" for leather production, the argument is that toxic chemicals are handled during leather production. Hardly any product made from alternative materials comes without the use of chemicals. Today's tanneries in developed countries are no longer a health hazard. They are just as dangerous or harmless as all other manufacturing plants where chemical products are processed. Also, many materials that are natural, are also dangerous in processing and such cases are often argued very polemically. Vegan leather, which turns out to be a plastic product, certainly does not correspond to the original idea of vegans, because it generates more plastic waste and microplastics and the materials usually have a shorter lifespan than leather. However, the temptation is to approach inexpensive plastic products as "vegan".
Starting with the Model 3, Tesla decided to only use synthetic leather for the interior and not real leather. The imitation leather used is also referred to as "vegan leather", although it is made of plastic and is not leather. In the meantime, more and more owners of these vehicles, especially in England and Norway, have problems with delamination and dents in the material. A damage pattern that is unusual even for imitation leather on headrests in vehicles.
Tesla headrests made of vegan leather with typical damages.
In many cases, Tesla denies responsibility and states that this effect is caused by cosmetics, sunscreen, hairspray, hair gel or disinfectants. Such surfaces react when the seats are heated by heat. Due to Tesla's refusal to recognize such cases as warranty cases and also due to other problems with their vehicles, customers in Norway have even gone on a hunger strike for 24 hours. Customers do not see that normal use is so limited by the sensitivity of the processed vegan leather. Damage of this type is not known to occur with genuine leather vehicle interiors. Headrests in particular are almost never damaged, even when they eldered to classic cars.
On occasion, the term "vegetarian leather" appears. Vegetarians are people who do not eat meat. But milk, eggs etc. are consumed. Therefore, vegetarians are not as strict in their selection as vegans.
The same rules apply as for vegan leather. Vegetarian leather is not leather and may not be called leather. This can lead to mixing up the two terms - "vegetarian leather" and "Vegetable-tanned leather". The similarity of the terms can lead to confusion and must be clarified on a case-by-case basis.
How to clean and care Vegan Leather
- Leather alternatives
- Muskin - MuSkin
- Bio leather
- Eco leather
- Wineleather - Wine Leather
- Piñatex - pineapple leather
- Nuvi Releaf
- Artificial leather - Imitation leather
- What materials can be called leather?
- PeTA - People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals