Environmentally friendly leather?

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Have you heard of the term vegan leather? Sometimes it’s called pleather or plastic leather and is made from polyurethane (PU). More recently some new types of materials have been created to mimic the durability of leather without using plastic or harmful chemicals in the manufacturing process. I had a look into some of these new plastic-free alternatives and compared them with leather and pleather by weighing up the pros and cons.

Leather

I’m including real animal hide in this list as a comparison against the leather imitation materials out there.

Pros: Durable. Natural resource.

Cons: Non-vegan product as it involves animal cruelty. Modern tanning and dyeing chemicals are toxic to humans and the environment.

Pleather

Fabric coated with plastics to imitate leather.

Pros: No animal cruelty. Waterproof. Cheap to make.

Cons: Contributes to plastic waste in landfill and microplastic pollution in our environment. Created from harmful petrochemicals. Fossil fuels used to make plastics aren’t renewable.

Pinapple leather (Pinatex)

The leaves from pineapple plants that are normally thrown away after harvest time are turned into a durable fabric.

Pros: Income for small communities in The Philippines. Using waste products from the pineapple industry. Certified non-harmful chemicals are used in the tanning process.

Cons: The certified safe chemicals might not be healthy for the environment? It’s unclear how these chemicals are certified as non-harmful for the environment. Plant leathers, including Pinatex, are less durable than animal leather.

Mushroom leather (Muskin)

Made from mushroom skins that are treated to become a fabric that feels like suede.

Pros: Low water and carbon usage in the production process. Tanned using a chemical-free process.

Cons: Less durable than real leather.

Washable paper

The bark of some trees, such as the Kozo tree in Japan, can be turned into a leather-like material. Only the outer layers of bark are used, the tree remains unharmed.

Pros: Made from a renewable resource. Kozo trees grow quickly.

Cons: Synthetic latex is used as a coating to make the paper waterproof. This means the final product is not biodegradable and uses non-renewable resources.

Lab-grown leather

Also known as bio-leather, microoganisms such as bacteria and fungi are used to grow materials like leather without being harmful to animals.

Pros: No animals are harmed in the making of this material.

Cons: This technology is currently very expensive and only very small quantities can be made at a time.

There are many more new options for natural materials out there to explore too. Have you tried any new or up-cycled materials? Comment below!

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Prevent creating enormous amounts of waste and save money by making these simple switches

Do you change your kitchen sponge every 3 weeks like you should? Oops… Maybe we’re a bit lax on that hygiene suggestion. But disposable items around the house do add up to a lot of landfill. Just think of all those used toothbrushes and disposable razors. *shudders*

Hang on a moment, I’ve just thought about all of the money spent on disposable razors and sponges. Oh my…

Sponges and paper towels

Even if you don’t change your sponge as often as you do each sponge you do discard is creating more waste in our environment. Along with sponges, paper towels cannot be recycled or reused so they end up as landfill too. In the long term you spend a lot of cash on these frequently used products in your kitchen and cleaning cupboard.

Switches to reduce waste:

  • Use cleaning cloths that you throw in the wash with your towels and bath mats. These can be old rags or cotton cloths. Avoiding plastic items, even multiple use items, will reduce the impact of microplastics entering our environment.
  • Dish scrubbers made from natural fibres such as hemp or nettle yarn can be washed many times. They last even longer if you dry them out in the sunshine!
I made hemp scrubbers for my family’s Christmas gifts. They’re for exfoliating in the shower but they also make really excellent cleaning scrubbers around the bathroom and kitchen. They dry faster than crochet cotton dishcloths. Contact me if you’d like to design a multipurpose hemp scrubber. I have hemp yarn in stock!

Tissues

Paper tissue fibres, as with paper towels, are too short to go into the recycling bin. Tissues will always be a contribution to landfill unless you consider other options. The cost of buying tissues also adds up over time.

Switches for tissues:

  • Convert old clothes and rags into handkerchiefs. Hankies are useful to keep in your pocket or handbag for mopping up any little spills or dirty fingers. Just throw them in the washing machine with your regular laundry.
  • Thrift stores sometimes have packs of hankies for a very good price. Think of how much use you get from a 50 cent handkerchief compared with a 50 cent box of tissues. Boom. All those extra coins you would have spent on tissue boxes, put them in a savings account. You’re winning already.

Toothbrushes and shower loofahs

Toothbrushes should always be replaced at the beginning of the new season, ie. Every 3 months. Changing my toothbrush when the season changes is the easiest memory trigger for me. You need to change your toothbrush to ensure it’s always effective. It’s kind of like an expiry date. Plastic shower loofahs and pouffes should be changed every 3 weeks like your kitchen sponge to avoid build up of mildew. Washable shower scrubbers are waiting out there for you to make the switch today. There are more waste reducing tips in the list below.

Now cast your mind to all of the plastic toothbrushes that have been made since they were first sold in the 1930s.

Bamboo toothbrushes from Sandcloud but it looks like they are discontinued from the website.

How to reduce your impact on the environment:

  • Bamboo toothbrushes can be composted but their bristles cannot. Remove the bristles and add the bamboo to your compost. Items that can decompose naturally don’t actually properly decompose in landfill due to the lack of oxygen.
  • Grow your own loofahs from gourds.
  • Buy or crochet your own cotton body washers using help yarn for exfoliating or special scrubbie yarn like my exfoliating shower mitts.
Handmade body pouffe made from 100% cotton yarn. Contact me for orders. 4 colours available.

Food waste

As mentioned in the above dot point the food you throw into the bin doesn’t actually break down properly. The low oxygen environment in landfill is the perfect habitat for anaerobic bacteria. These are the little creatures who produce methane.

Reducing food waste:

  • Compost: create a section of your yard with a compost heap. Add some worms! You can feed the rest of your garden with the nutrients produced from the composting process.
  • Bokashi bucket: no yard? No problem. When I was living in an apartment I kept my small Urban Composter City bokashi bucket on the balcony. It has a handy tap to distribute the composted nutrients.
  • Create an “Eat first” section of the fridge so that you’re eating up leftovers and soft fruit before they are ready to be thrown out.
  • Write a shopping list and remember to actually take it to the shops. The list helps you remember that you still have a bag of cucumbers in the fridge and you don’t need to buy any more.

Makeup wipes and cotton rounds

Removing makeup every night and applying toner every morning adds up to a lot of single use cotton rounds if you’re into that kind of thing.

Switch single use cotton rounds for:

My handmade cotton rounds. Available for sale in packs of 3.

Disposable razors

Cheap plastic disposable razors are so convenient but they never last very long. So you’re buying more and more, spending more and throwing them all away sooner than you expected.

Cost effective switches for shaving with disposable razors:

Fast fashion

You might be surprised to know that the textile industry creates more carbon emissions than the airline industry. It certainly surprised me! When you stop and think about every purchase you make you can not only save yourself from unnecessary spending but it also reduces your impact on the Earth. ūüĆć Our home.

Tips to reduce fast fashion in your life:

  • Switch to the slow fashion life.
    • Purchase quality garments that are made to last more than a couple of seasons. In the long run you save money especially when you repair buttons and small holes to extend the life of your garment.
  • Rent clothing for special occasions.

As always, thanks so much for reading. Click the YouTube icon below to go to my channel and see a list of my latest videos. Like and subscribe to share some happiness.

Plastic pollution myths busted!

There are some myths currently floating around that could be harmful to the environment so I’m here to help with some mythbusting facts.

Myth #1

If I recycle my plastic waste I’m not harming the environment.

Fact: Many types of plastic cannot be recycled. Additionally, if non-recyclable items contaminate a bunch of recyclable products all of the recyclable items will be sent to a landfill.

This is why I can’t stress enough that COFFEE CUPS SHOULD NEVER BE PLACED IN A RECYCLING BIN.

Coffee cups are in no way recyclable. If these non-recyclable products contaminate the products being sent recycling, all of that recycling goes straight to the tip.

What you can do: Reduce use of all plastics. Bring your own coffee cup on your coffee run. Use canvas tote bags for all of your shopping and produce. Stop buying plastic toothbrushes (go for bamboo). Take advantage of this code for 15% off all purchases at Sand Cloud: VICK_Y15. Sandcloud.com has a selection of glass water bottles, metal straws and environmentally friendly organic sunscreen (packaged in a tin instead of plastic). You can feel really good about saving the planet with your next session of retail therapy.

Myth #2

Plastic pollution in the ocean isn’t harming humans.

Fact: Leaching of chemicals from plastics into our waterways not only affects our water but our food too. Large pieces of plastic break down into smaller pieces called microplastics. These microplastics are mistaken as food by sea creatures and are frequently ingested. The smaller fish that consume these plastics are consumed by larger fish until it gets to the top of the food chain, you and me! Do you really want to be eating food that is potentially contaminated with harmful chemicals?

Myth #3

Ocean plastic pollution mainly originates from dumping rubbish in the ocean

Fact: Plastics from all over the land can end up in the ocean, no matter where it was dumped. Most of the plastics that are now in the ocean originated from every day items that you and I use frequently – bags, bottles, caps, food containers. If we begin limiting the use of plastic in our lives we can make an impact on the reduction of plastic in the ocean.

Share your plastic reduction tips in the comments. My latest effort in waste reduction involves the use of beeswax food wraps and reusable ziplock bags to store my lunches for work! What’s yours?

Plant a tree without planting a tree

You can now plant a tree and help the planet without even getting your hands dirty.

I have often thought about planting a tree but I have no idea how or where to do it with permission. My small apartment balcony is hardly the place for a tree!

There are currently a bunch of companies that plant at least one tree per purchase of their products or services. Here are some of them:

Tree Lyfe

“Live every day with intention.
Wear our bracelets as a reminder that you have the ability to create your own reality. #plantyourfuture
Each bracelet plants a tree and is a daily reminder that you too can reach incredible heights.”

So far Tree Lyfe has planted around 12,000 trees. They are planted in Haiti, Madagascar, Ethiopia, Nepal, and Indonesia. Local workers from these poverty-stricken countries are hired and trained to plant the trees, providing jobs which help lift the families from poverty. The local families then benefit as the workers can provide food, education, and health care for their families.

In addition to the benefit to the environment Tree Lyfe also has a focus on mental health.
I’m all for¬†breaking taboos around mental health and keeping the conversation open around mental health in order to reduce stigmatisation. It’s a cause close to my heart.
Each bracelet stands for more than one planted tree. It serves as a reminder of our own personal growth that can grow along with the tree that was planted with the purchase of the bracelet.
Scroll down for my Tree Lyfe review.

Ten Tree

At tentree, our goal is to become the most environmentally progressive brand on the planet. We don’t want to just reduce the negative impact of the apparel industry, we want to use it as a vehicle for change. Our purpose is to revitalize our environment and inspire a generation to believe that they can do the same.

Baron Fig

Buy a Book, Plant a Tree endeavour is our way of giving back in appreciation. It’s our way of showing thanks to you, our customers, as well as to the environment. So far your purchases have helped plant tens of thousands of trees since we launched, with more being added to that number daily. For every Confidant you buy, we’ll plant a tree.

WeWOOD

High-quality and eco-friendly timepieces that give back to the environment. For each watch sold WeWood plants one tree allowing our customers to not only look stylish in their new WeWood accessory but help the environment.

4EST Shades

At 4EST Shades we fell in love with the idea of crafting beautiful products from sustainable materials. Our dream resulted in the creation of this wonderful collection of sunglasses. We are also dedicated to giving back, so with every purchase made we donate to have¬†two trees¬†planted. Rest assured you¬†won’t only¬†look good, you can feel great¬†knowing you’ve¬†helped make for a greener Earth!

Review time

I gave Tree Lyfe a go and I am pleasantly surprised with the products I have received.

The quality of each woven bracelet exceeds expectations and the size of the bracelet is very easily adjustable to allow a perfectly comfortable fit.

Each sticker and bracelet provides a person with motivation and positivity, which is exactly what I feel I need in my life especially this week in particular. Every time I look down and see these trendy pieces on my wrists I feel a boost of inspiration and sometimes that’s all we need to keep us going.

In regards to keeping up the conversation around mental health awareness, check out the Tree Lyfe website for the Inspiring Stories from young people who have shared their own personal traumatic experiences. These personal stories can help inspire us to keep going through those challenging times in our life.

Tree Lyfe is offering a 10% discount on all purchases through this affiliate link or it’s as easy as using the code FULLCUP10 at the checkout.