I ‘m the type of girl who’s rarely without some kind of handbag, or tote. I have many. My so-named ‘bag-robe,’ consists of various D.I.Y. constructions, which have either been recycled, or have recycled fabric or zips incorporated into them. Many I’ve hand-made or hand-painted. There’s one exception to this and it’s that one exception that had me fooled, big time.
Tending to look for environmentally savvy choices when making purchases, I try hard not to add to plastic pollution, in the environment. This time, however, I confess to failing miserably – buying a Vegan leather bag a year or two ago.
I was seduced by the bag’s clever design with many hidden pockets and versatile zippered pouches. The price was more than I’d ever paid for a bag; yet I justified the purchase because it was Australian made and knowing it costs far more to produce things in our affluent Australian society. People do need high wages to live here.
But instead of buying something unsustainable and avoiding plastics, I now realize I’ve inadvertently done just that. Most mainstream vegan leather is made from PU or polyurethane leather, which is really a thermoplastic polymer and not terribly sustainable – at all.
Is vegan leather any better for the planet?
Whilst vegan leather may be good news for the bovines of the world, vegan PU leather is impossible to recycle. So it is definitely not sustainable, or environmentally friendly, at all.
Despite this, PU leather is increasingly used in the manufacture of lounges and home leather furnishings. Being 100% animal product free earns a tick of approval from the animal welfare lobby, but a PU product is not sustainable and what is worse – it is just another form of plastic! Buying a second hand leather bag would have been a better choice.
To be honest, it was the style of this bag itself that garnered my attention – it was eminently practical and had a great shoulder strap. The straps are durable, but of course, now I know why! They are plastic and won’t decompose.
And the price wasn’t cheap. I almost had to mortgage my schnauzer to pay for it. It certainly didn’t reflect that I was buying a piece of plastic!
Next time, I will not be fooled by the label.
At least it WAS made in Australia…
Have you been sucked into a purchase by the style or label?