Our materials and what is vegan leather made of?
What is vegan leather made of?
This is a question that we are asked a lot. Vegan leather is a leather alternative that is cruelty-free, more environmentally-friendly and as aesthetically pleasing as animal leather.
There are a number of vegan leathers out there, each with their own pros and cons. Generally speaking, vegan leather is a fibre-based layer coated by a durable and waterproof layer of polyurethane. The fibre can be polyester (we use recycled polyester), wood fibre or vegetable fibre or a combination of any of these. The polyurethane coating is a thin layer of plastic which is used to protect the internal fibres.
Our bag outers are made from a GRS (Global Recycled standard) certified blended recycled polyurethane consisting of:
- 40% recycled post-consumer polyester
- 18% recycled pre-consumer polyurethane
- 37% polyurethane
- 5% calcium carbonate
There are a number of ways of being a more environmentally friendly brand, none of which are perfect. The downside of most vegan materials is that, in order to make them waterproof and durable, they need to be coated in PU. This includes both polyester based PU and vegetable leather. Being a form of plastic, this prevents most vegan leathers from being biodegradable.
Happily, there are a number of pros to vegan leather. Vegan leather does not use the toxic chemicals that animal leather does, it is cruelty-free and does not contribute to deforestation or other environmental damage associated with animal production. The use of animal leather is often justified as a ‘by-product’ of the livestock industry. The opinion of Vuxari founder Gemma Cole is that ‘leather is actually just a profit producing product that makes animal agriculture more viable for the producer’. By selling their skin, killing cows for their meat becomes more viable for the producer. See our blog post covering the environmental consequences of animal leather.
The materials that we have chosen to use take pre- and post-consumer recycled, and non-recycled materials, and blend them into new material. Other ways include vegetable leather or non-PU materials such as hemp and cotton. We like the idea of re-using what would otherwise be waste material so we have opted for a blended PU recycling both polyester and polyurethane.
Our handbag lining is made of rPET
So first and foremost, what is rPET? rPET stands for recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET). PET is the material used to make plastic for the food and drinks industry. rPET is the recycled form of PET. Because of the nature of the food and drink industry, the plastic waste material used as containers and drinks containers cannot be easily re-used. This offers us an opportunity to take this waste material, break it down into small pieces and then heat them into weavable fibres. These fibres can then be blended with polyester, or other fibres, and woven into fabric! Check your plastic food and drink containers, when you see recycle identification number 1 (the number inside the recycle sign), then you have PET that could become the lining of your Vuxari bag!
Our dust bags are made of hemp
Our dust bags are made using undyed hemp. Our logo is hand-printed using a vegetable-based dye. Why hemp? There are a number of materials suitable to make dust bags. We chose hemp, because it is a biodegradable material that uses less water than cotton to produce, is very durable and uses minimal processing to produce. The perfect material to keep your Vuxari handbag safe.