Today’s Solutions: October 03, 2023

The global demand for leather takes a lot of cattle which are cruelly treated and contribute a great deal of greenhouse gasses. Not only that but the processes of tanning and crusting leather actually produce carcinogenic chemical runoff of dangerous heavy metals like chromium. These get into the water systems of places like Bangladesh and China where a lot of leather is produced. 

In response to this, the leather industry is adjusting and pursuing safer and more environmentally friendly alternatives to cattle hide. Here are some of the most promising leather alternatives changing the leather game and the garment industry. 


Desserto leather is made from Nopal cactus, also known as prickly pear cactus. Top retail leather goods producers like Karl Lagerfeld, Fossil, and Everlane are already using cactus-based leather, and Mercedes-Benz already has seats covered in it. Rather than cows or even other plants, cacti use very little water. Desserto states that it saved 164,650% of water compared to animal leather. 

Pineapple leaves

Ananas Anam is a company that recognized the incredibly strong fibers in pineapple leaves and decided to use them in the garment industry. This material is called Piñatex and is now used by Hugo Boss, H&M, Paul Smith, and Nike. About 480 leaves from Filipino pineapple producers are used to make one square meter of material, and it creates hardly any waste. 

Palm leaves

Palm leather was developed by Dutch designer Tjeerd Veenhoven about a decade ago. He wanted to find a use for the leaves of the 80 million Areca Betel Nut Palm growing in southern India, and discovered that brittle palm leaves became more flexible when treated with glycerin, water, and some other ingredients. Now manufacturers in the Dominican Republic and Sri Lanka produce palm leather that is used in bags, book jackets, shoes, and many other products. 

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

Astronomers demand disco balls for science: A shiny spin on solar observation

It’s true that disco balls have had their place in space for decades now. However, some astronomers argue in a new article that disco ...

Read More

What is PALM-ALT? A healthier and more eco-friendly alternative to palm oil

The global need for palm oil, a common ingredient in food and cosmetics, has long been a source of worry due to its association ...

Read More

“Regenerative Meat” — The meaning behind a new food label

If you’ve shopped for meat lately, you might have noticed that some packaging is sporting a new label: “regenerative meat.” Just like “grass-fed” or ...

Read More

Burger King Austria makes plant-based their “new normal”

Burger King Austria’s new campaign is boldly challenging the public’s expectation of what “normal” ought to be. In a climate-conscious world, making plant-based the ...

Read More