As vegans, we know that leather and the leather-industry are both bad deals. Up until recently, the leather industry was pretty much dominant when it came to providing buyers with, well, leather products. Thankfully though, things are changing and the leather industry is starting to find itself increasingly on the back foot. That’s because alternatives to leather are becoming more available, including cork leather.
Cork leather is a leather substitute that is, unsurprisingly, made from the bark shavings of the cork oak tree. It is as durable, flexible and waterproof as leather (some say even more so) and just as stylish looking, but less two key things. The first, is it lacks the animal cruelty and misery of regular leather. The second is that it also lacks the massively adverse impact on the environment that regular leather inflicts.
Cork leather is 100% sustainable, bio-degradable, recyclable and eco-friendly product. It can be produced without any of the harmful chemicals and environmental pollutants that are used in making regular leather by way of the tanning process. It also holds the same advantage over synthetic leathers that are made from plastics. Another issue with plastic synthetic leather is that it can take literally centuries to decompose – another environmental concern.
The future is looking increasingly promising for alternatives to leather and cork leather is definitely starting to lead the charge. The viability of the wholly unsustainable and environmentally destructive leather industry is now massively compromised and in decline. The planet, the environment and every living creature on the planet, be they human or non-human, simply cannot afford to embrace new concepts like cork leather.
Who knows, maybe with a few life-times, “real” leather will be a relic of history and things like cork leather will be the norm. And when that day comes, watch the (vegan) champagne corks go popping!