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What is vegan leather anyway?

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Miljours is not a vegan business, and I’m really proud of it. Vegan leather as we call it, what is it exactly? Plastic. Plastic. Plastic. Vegan leather, that many brands use, comes from petroleum sources that we call polyurethane today, it was also known as leatherette, faux leather or imitation leather.

When we take a closer look, we see that this material is not at all sustainable. Just like plastic, untreated, it deteriorates in no time, especially with the drastic changes in temperature that experience in Quebec. It cracks, breaks, and ends up in the garbage thus pollutes the soil.

Vegan leather

This material cannot be maintained
Plastic does not breathe, does not absorb protective wax, but it is easily cleaned with a wet cloth.

Petroleum source
So-called vegan materials come from petroleum sources thus considerably damage ecosystems. Furthermore, materials that originate from petrochemicals release harmful compounds in the atmosphere.

Do real vegan options exist?
Yes! Luckily. My favourite: fabric. Speaking of vegan materials (I don’t like to say leather because in this case we are talking about animal skin, so vegan leather is a contradictory term), there is pinatex (made of pineapple) - sadly it is not that durable, it tears easily (I tried it myself), there is also a mushroom material called muskin - it’s a bit squishy but I would love to see it up close. There are various other options that I have yet to discover and try for myself.

Vegetable tanned leather
Vegetable tanned leather is the type of leather we use at Miljours. It is animal leather that is durable and contains no chemicals nor synthetics so it does not release toxic emanations. Veg tanned leather was used in the Middle Age and we are going back to it because of its sustainability. The leather is not vegetable based, it is the skin that is treated (tanned) with plants for the transformation into leather. Here are even further details on the subject.

Nice to know about the leather industry
Initially, the animal is killed for its meat, unlike the fur industry. After its skin is salvaged. Even if we stopped killing animals for their meat, we would still have leather for centuries. I met a tanner that had skins for 25 years without buying anything during those 25 years; they can be preserved for a long time with salt.

I don’t think convincing the convinced vegans, far from it. This article is meant to be informative and transparent, respecting the choices of each individual.