What is PU Leather?

What exactly is ‘PU’ Leather?

PU stands for polyurethane. It is a polymer, and like many plastics it is highly adaptable for different uses such as electrical appliances, insulation, car parts, sportswear and of course fashion accessories.

It has recently been increasingly used as a substitute for animal leather as global consciousness grows about cruel animal farming practices and the damage caused to the planet by farming industries.

Synthetic leather is far less harmful to the environment than cow leather.

The term ‘PU leather’ can be used quite loosely though, and it is important to distinguish between two types:

  • 100% PU leather is a man-made blend of chemicals which is made by reacting diisocyanates (MDI and/or TDI) with a range of polyols, if you want to get technical!.
  • Split leather, however, is actually a layer or layers of leftovers of traditional animal leather production coated in polyurethane.

We guarantee that our products are 100% PU, 100% vegan and cruelty-free.

Why choose PU leather?

PU is highly durable, easy to maintain and cheaper than animal hide. It is easily washable and can also be manufactured in a much wider range of colours than real leather. It also doesn’t have that lingering smell that follows you around with a real leather fashion accessory!

The PU leather production process is more efficient and uses less water and electricity etc., which makes it more more eco-friendly than animal leather manufacturing.

Sustainable future

So what about the environmental impact of choosing plastic?

The global fashion industry produces more carbon emissions than both aviation and shipping combined. Reducing the energy required for production and lengthy supply chains is one way of addressing the issue, and opting for PU rather than real leather is already a choice to support that.

Because PU leather is so durable, with the right care, accessories made from PU will need replacing less often. The downside of that is that it also takes longer to biodegrade than real leather.

This is why Made Vegan supports vital research into the wide range of natural alternatives to PU leather that are beginning to make it into production – recycled ocean plastic, jute, hemp… one day your handbag could even be made out of pineapples, mushrooms or a cactus!

Cork is one of those natural and sustainable materials that is rapidly become more affordable and readily available, so keep an eye out for cork-made products in our line coming soon!

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