3 amazing environmentally friendly leather alternatives | The Optimist Daily
Today’s Solutions: July 15, 2024

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

The United Kingdom just elected its most diverse Parliament ever

BY THE OPTIMIST DAILY EDITORIAL TEAM Britain has elected its most diverse parliament in history, signaling a substantial shift in representation as Prime Minister ...

Read More

This study finds microdosing THC can reduce chronic pain

While CBD is the ingredient in cannabis that gets praise for its healing capabilities, a new study shows THC can also be effective in ...

Read More

This skyscraper in Taipei features a carbon-absorbing vertical forest

According to the World Green Building Council, our built environment is responsible for almost 40 percent of the world’s carbon footprint. Facing a dire ...

Read More

Ditch the rake and discover the benefits of leaving fallen leaves in your yard

The annual ritual of raking and disposing of fallen leaves has been engraved into the autumn dance for generations. But, in reality, those vivid ...

Read More