Leather vs Eco Leather

Eco-leather is a synthetic look-alike of natural leather. It has the feel and weave of genuine leather. As the perfect alternative to natural leather, it gives you the same authentic feel for a lot less money.

The leather vs. eco-leather debate is based on the primary sources that they’re extracted from. Natural leather uses skins and hides of real animals, while eco-leather has a more environmentally friendly approach. It is a term that is used to describe the eco-friendly nature of the process.

Genuine leather is extracted from animals and has variations in its texture, adding authenticity and a delicate feel. However, working with genuine leather is a bit expensive and labor-intensive. So, nowadays, people are considering upgrading to the next standard of leather.

What is Eco Leather?

The eco-leather is an exciting idea. It includes the leathers that are obtained from environment-friendly ingredients. Recycled leather products or other leathers are processed in an environment-friendly technique.

This process has a unique way of designing leather. It astonishingly reduces the number of pollutants from the entire process. The eco-leather also has the same durability as natural leather. But it spares the environment from all the unnecessary wastage of a general production system.

Eco-leather is constructed from purely natural and eco-friendly sources. Moreover, it is a bio-degradable product that quickly decomposes into the soil.

What Is Eco-Leather Made Of?

Eco-leather is made out of materials that imitate the look and feel of natural leather. The two most popular types of eco-leather are PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) and PU (Polyurethane).

PVC is a fabric leather backing with a foam layer on top of it. And then the skin layer gets added. Finally, the finishing is done with a plastic surface coating.

But, PU can be made from other eco-friendly and sustainable materials such as bio-poly oil. It creates a durable and soft feel on the leather. Just like natural leather, PU feels and wrinkles the same way.

Also, PU doesn’t use plastics and is undoubtedly one of the most sustainable forms of eco-leather. It has a really soft yet robust structure. Most customers can never tell the difference between animal leather and PU.

Choosing between PVC and PU is a difficult task, but in reality, it depends on what kind of leather products you’re looking for. PVC has a multi-layered composition, making it more durable than PU. On the other hand, PU leather is generally softer and also has a natural feel.

Another less popular type of eco-leather is Piñatex. This leather is made from the extracted remnants of pineapple.

How Long Does Eco-Leather Last?

There’s a common misconception amongst the consumers that eco-leather has a shorter lifespan than its genuine counterpart. But in fact, the eco-leather is less likely to get damaged or fade from the sunlight.

Because 0% of plastics are used in PU leather, the brittle and breakable feel of the plastic won’t be an issue in this matter. PU is easier to maintain as well. Most of the eco-leathers can easily be cleaned with warm water and a rag, whereas the animal leather starts to crack over time if it comes in touch with any moisture.

What is Leather?

Leather is the product we get from the skins of cows, lamb, sheep, goats. You can also extract it from other unique exotic animals such as kangaroos, alligators, etc.

Natural leather has been a part of our daily lives for the longest time. From ancient times to this new era of technology, the use of leather has not decreased even the slightest bit.

About 99% of the ingredients used for making leather are directly or indirectly taken from animals. Though it has been the sole ingredient for clothing and other necessities, it is not actually very sustainable.

Leather Production

There are various types of leather, and each has its own separate way of production. But there are few basic steps included in every kind of production. For example –

1.     Cleaning

2.     Tanning

3.     Re-tanning

4.     Milling

5.     Finishing

Is Eco Leather Better Than Real Leather?

You can make the comparison of eco-leather and genuine leather on some specific points. Here are a few pointers to give you a basic idea.

Eco-friendly

The main reason people shift to eco-leather is that it supports zero tolerance against the use of animal leather. The product is made from bio-degradable materials like fruits and leaves. But replacing eco-leather products is far more challenging than genuine leather items as they’re more expensive.

Quality

Although eco-leather offers the topmost quality and texture, its durability is often questioned by users.

As it’s been a new addition to the market, technologists have yet to significantly improve this particular field. Also, the lightweight and thin design make its durability decrease a little bit too.

Breathability

Breathability is an important feature to look for in a leather product. Genuine leather is naturally very breathable, allowing it to be cool and regulate the heat around it.

Though shoes and bags need breathability, products like jackets are not supposed to have this feature. Here the eco-leather gets to do an excellent job.

Looks

Both natural and eco-leather have unique grain patterns and smoothness. They also have a wide range of colors that look absolutely stunning.

The prime advantage genuine leather has is that it becomes richer in texture over time if properly cared for. Unfortunately, here the eco-leather fails to live up to the mark.

Expense

Eco leathers are usually cheaper and more sustainable than natural leather. It is cheaper to produce as there are no animal production-related expenses included in the overall costing.

The process significantly decreases the amount of labor and cost needed to make these leathers.

Moral Obligation

There is an ongoing debate that all the skins that are by-products of the meat factories are not utilized properly. So it will eventually end up harming the environment.

But there’s also the prospect of animal abuse that occurs during this process. So in this category, eco-leather gets the prominent appreciation for these reasons.

Similarities And Differences Between Leather vs. Eco Leather

The genuine leather and the eco-leather have some similarities and differences between them. We’ve specified them for you down below.

Similarities

  • Both have unique grain textures
  • Have two primary surfaces
  • Can be dyed or colored
  • Both go through almost the same industrial processing
  • Sometimes both of them might include non-environmental products

Differences

  • They are made from different primary sources. For natural leather, it is animal skin or hides. But for eco-leather, it can be anything from fruits to leaves of the trees.
  • Natural leather has to be tanned to ensure durability. But it is not required in most cases with eco-leather.
  • Natural leather is obviously more expensive for the customers. It also comes with a tedious manufacturing process. But the eco-leather production process is much simpler, and it also goes easy on the customers’ pockets.

Conclusion

There’s a significant amount of differences between the two types of leather. But it parts in two different paths at the point of whether or not you want to relieve nature from the harms that we’re already causing. Let’s face it, we’re not really doing mother nature a favor by killing all these animals.

We hope you have your answers and are now aware of the debate between leather vs. eco-leather. Now, you are set to go and choose the type suitable for your needs. Cheers!

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