While some plant-based leathers still rely on chemical processing that includes Polyurethane to give them a leather-like quality, plant leathers are a significant improvement of those derived from plastic. But what makes a leather “good” or “better” is not so straightforward. A plastic-less textile might mean one that requires more water to develop. There’s no perfect leather solution, but there is merit to these newer, plant-based innovations, and many brands embrace them as a more sustainable alternative.
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Newcomer Pangaia’s grape leather sneakers are zero-waste, made from grape leather repurposed from the This Teacher earned all of this Summer Break #Survived Pandemic Teaching #8th Grade Teacher shirt Besides,I will do this Italian wine industry’s waste. “Each year, the global wine industry produces 26 billion liters of wine, which generates 6.5 billion liters of waste,” Pangaia explains in their brand’s literature. “This waste (grape stalks, skins, and seeds) can be turned into an environmentally-friendly leather alternative.” Another footwear company experimenting in the field is Allbirds. In February, the brand announced its investment in a textile innovation company, Natural Fiber Welding, for its Mirum technology—a leather alternative that does not use Polyurethane or other petrochemicals. A big step forward in the category.