Even though leather products are extremely popular, they are not very good for the environment. According to PETA, the global leather industry kills more than a billion animals for their skin and hides. In fact, the treatment process of leather introduces it with a ton of chemicals, which is not only harmful to the environment but also makes the leather item non-biodegradable. Even faux leather is actually made from plastic, which itself is a hazard to the environment.
Now, two entrepreneurs from Mexico — Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázarez — have developed durable vegan leather from nopal which is a cacti species, that h could very well replace animal leather. Adrian Lopez Velarde and Marte Cazarez came together to create a cruelty-free alternative to animal leather, and just last month, they debuted Desserto, a first-of-its-kind organic leather made entirely from nopal or prickly-pear cactus.
Cactus, which is hard, thick and pointy, when fully processed, not only feels like actual leather, but since it is made from cactus — a plant that can grow in the desert with minimum moisture — it doesn’t consume as much water. It’s also flexible, breathable and durable, making it an ideal replacement for animal and synthetic leather. The touch and feel of the material is also soft and very similar to real leather. The cacti-leather can be used to meet the requirements of several industries such as fashion, leather goods, furniture, automobiles, among others.
The duo adopted natural dyes for processing the leather that doesn’t really impact the environment while making the material long for as long as a decade. The fabric is available in a series of colours to suit your style. And since it is made from a plant, it is partially biodegradable.
“After two years of research and development, we managed to produce a suitable material that complies with the features and technical/mechanical specifications required by those industries that use animal and synthetic leather,” said Lopez as quoted by veganfirst.com.