Is vegetable tanned leather sustainable?
We take extreme care in everything that we do, and there is no exception when it comes to the materials we use. When we select our materials we try to make the most sustainable choice that lies within our means.
Why do we consider vegetable tanned leather the most sustainable choice?
Vegetable tanned leather is extremely durable. It wears down slowly and while it does it becomes more beautiful after each use. Due to use, sunlight and care, vegetable tanned leather develops a patina; a beautiful dark sheen that only develops on vegetable tanned leather because of how it is tanned. Because it is so durable and beautiful in use it ensures that it will be used often. Developing products that are used often are in essence sustainable. Because they will not be disposed of quickly or replaced by other shoes. In addition to this we have designed our shoes to be repaired, once they have worn down. Keeping repair in mind while designing, is the most sustainable way to use any material.
Leather is a byproduct (a secondary product created during the creation of something else), of the meat industry. Although the definition of byproduct can be discussed, some will argue it is a co-product. We are convinced it is at least economically a byproduct, because more than 97% of the economic value of a cow comes from its meat.
There are two different techniques to produce leather. Vegetable tanning leather is a technique that makes use of natural tannins derived from plant materials such as tree bark, leaves, and fruits. This traditional method has been used for centuries. Chrome tanning, the most common method of tanning, uses chemicals that can be toxic, which can pollute the environment and potentially cause health problems for workers.
That is why we choose to use vegetable tanned leather. However, we could do better. We are working towards working with leather certified by The Leather Working Group (LWG). Which ensures the manufacturers have been accessed on every aspect of their comany, socially and environmentally. We currently work with a small Italian tannery, from the region of Tuscany that produces our leather. By working with them we invest in preserving traditional craftsmanship.
Compared to alternatives, which are usually synthetic, leather biodegrades much faster. The most common alternative is synthetic leather, which is essentially plastic that is made from fossil fuels. Depending on its tanning method, leather can biodegrade in 50 years. While synthetic leather takes up to 200 years to biodegrade.
Remember, sustainability is a journey, this is where we are now. We would love to hear your thoughts, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your feedback.
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