No matter how leather is processed, there is no denying that it causes a significant environmental impact across the globe.
In a report by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the leady industry kills more than a billion animals for their skins and hides. Most animals killed for their skin, like cows and snakes, are often abused.
Workers in the leather industry also suffer from making it. Highly toxic chemicals were used to stop the animal’s corpse from decomposing. The chemicals were often dumped on rivers, killing it as well.
“A few years ago, villagers could swim in the river. Now they get blisters on their hands and feet from touching the water. When you stand close to the river, you can smell rotting flesh because the leather factory dumps its sewage, made up of animal skin and meat, untreated into the river,” said one lawyer for China’s Center for Legal Assistance to Pollution Victims.
Two entrepreneurs, Adrian Lopez Velarde and Mart Cazarez, decided to solve the waste problem and formulated a new technique to create leather fabric using cactus leaves.
With their company called Desserto, they use cactus leaves. Cactus is known for its rugged nature. When fully processed, it feels like actual leather. They used natural dyes when processing the leather that does not harm the environment, all the while making the fabric last as long as a decade.