Cactus leather- a strange name if you hear it for the first time as we all are habituated with animal leather. Astonishing to hear or not, this cactus leather is going to save one billion animals killed for fashion as an alternative to animal leather. What a boon for the animal lovers! If you want to know how cactus leather is going to save the animals, this article is for you!
Cactus Leather- why is it needed?
Leather is one of the most known material to the common people. It is part of a booming $80 billion industry. But leathers are much problematic because of using animal products & harmful chemicals with it.
And if we come to the fashion industry, then we can easily notice that the fashion industry is the 2nd largest polluter in the world! And leather is a staple in the fashion industry.
Additionally, a quote can be included- “The global leather industry kills more than a billion animals for their skin & hides”-PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).
Again, to get leathers from animals, the treatment process involves tonnes of chemicals. This process is not only harmful for the environment but also creates non biodegradable leather products. Almost in most of the industries, leather comes from a cow & the cow has to drink up to 1800 gallons/yr.
The story doesn’t end here! In the tanning process of leather, it needs more water. Overall, this process creates 100,000,000 tons of wastes in the fashion industry. So, these kinds of problems should be maneuvered sincerely. And it’s a matter of great success that it’s not a problem moreover. Because two entrepreneurs from Mexico named Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázarez have invented the method of metamorphosing Cactus into vegan leathers which was named “DESSERTO”.
These two people achieved this result after much brainstorming, mental stress & physical efforts. And it is marvelous & can be said that it has been designed to bring a change in the world of leather.
Cactus is available everywhere in Mexico & it is eco-friendly. Desserto is made from cacti grown in the Mexican state of the Zacatecas.
How Desserto made cactus leather?
Someone may ask in this process much cactus is needed. Then it may be harmful for the plants.You may ask to have an alternative process for saving animals, won’t the process be harmful to the plants? Then friends, relax! Cutting cactus is just like a haircut.
At first, they select mature leaves of cactus without embezzlement of the cactus plant & do a new harvest every 6 to 8 months. After cutting mature leaves for 3 days they dry them under the sun to achieve the perfect humidity level as per need.
Then organic raw materials are needed. After drying, organic raw materials are processed & mixed with some non-toxic chemicals which are eco-friendly to the environment. Then it is shaped into any texture & different colored leathers can be gotten. In this process, no pesticides or herbicides are used. Another matter of pleasure that in this process, irrigation is not needed as the cacti grow perfectly as per need with rain water and earth minerals are easily found in the area.
Now, a question can be asked that can we use anything else alternative to cactus for bringing a change in the world of leather. Then the below points are the answers of your curious question peeking in your mind.
Benefits of Using Cactus to Produce Vegan Leathers:
- This vegan leathers aims to create a sustainable & cruelty free environment.
2. Can save the world from the dangerous toxic chemicals which are harmful to both the animals & all over human beings.
3. These types of leathers absorb Carbon-di-oxide which is a great sign of saving the world from global warming & thus it can be said this process is a current need of today!!
4. It’s breathable, flexible & comfortable to the skin.
5. It doesn’t stain, works up to 10 years.
6. The cacti leather is partially biodegradable.
7. During the manufacturing process less cows as well as animals are harmed.
8. Cactus has rugged & thick skin which makes the desired texture to forge animal leather.
9. Cactus doesn’t need water to grow up which is much beneficial especially in deserts.
10. Billions of animals killed for fashion can be saved through this process.
11. This leather is durable, high quality, soft & organic!
12. In this process, it doesn’t contain any plastic which is a good sign for the environment.
13. Cactus leather’s price is much less than animal leathers. And with it you can make cactus leather shoes, cactus leather bags, wallets, belts, jackets, etc.
So, the benefits are many & it should be grabbed as soon as possible. Moreover this cacti leather can be used like regular leathers.This desserto can also be used to make accessories, clothing, furniture, and even car interiors.
Additional information on Desserto, the cactus leather innovators!
Desserto is providing consulting services to brands addressing design, applications, and sustainability along their value chain.
Desserto gives keynote speeches
Desserto provides speeches about their experience creating a successful brand encircling Cactus Leather and having a positive impact in the fashion industry as a disruptive sustainable innovation force.
Desserto provides student services
As an extended courtesy to support young talents, upon limited project submissions per month, Desserto provides:
- Access to their standard material selection with no minimums.
- 1 swatch-book per request which is free of charge. Only courier fee will apply.
- They provide additional support.
- All the supports can be accessed only with valid student ID
Desserto has attracted everyone’s eyes in International Leather Fair Lineapelle 2019 in Milan, Italy. If Desserto’s cactus leather making process and the sustainable products can be used broadly, we can hope to have a sustainable environment & can live peacefully and sustainably.
Dept.Environmental Science & Engineering,
Bangladesh University of Textiles
As you have read this article, you might be interested to read this too!
Sustainable Fashion & Environmental Impact
You can also read another article of the same author: Textile Recycling: Reducing Waste and Promoting Circular Economy
What is Sustainable Fashion:
Sustainable fashion is a developing process of compliance change to fashion products, actually all over the fashion system as well as fashion industry. It can easily keep contribution towards greater ecological integrity & also can inspire us to be self-confident in fashion so that the elegancy of a person as well as the whole civilization can be expressed clearly.
If we want to describe the environmental impacts on sustainable fashion then we must have knowledge about fashion industry. Almost all the processes of making an apparel from fiber are conducted in an industry. And the whole process follows some steps consciously. Generally four steps are as follows:
1.Raw materials like fiber and yarns & other necessary elements are produced,
2.Fashion good are produced & designed by designers,manufacturers,contractors & others.
3.Giving a transparent idea of retailing sells.
4.Advertisement & promoting.
Environmental Hazards facing for fashion industries:
Its a bitter truth that the imperfect manufacturing process of those products which seem elegant to us, are responsible for many environmental issues. During high water usage, high chemical treatments used in weaving, dyeing or in other processes environment hazards are faced badly. And it’s actually a matter of concern that only 20% of clothing is recycled or reused and the rest are being wasted. It has been reckoned that only in UK around 350,000 tons of clothing ends up as dissipation every year. According to Earth Pledge, a non-profit organization committed to promoting and supporting sustainable development, almost 25% of the world’s pesticides are used to grow non-organic cotton & at least 8000 toxic chemicals are used to get textiles from raw materials. Another study shows that approximately 34.8% of microplastics are found in the oceans basically coming from textile industries. Microfibers are tiny enough & for that reason it can easily mix up with the wastes. So, by eliminating synthetic materials used in textile products & by following the three ‘R’s reducing, reusing and recycling, we can prevent harmful synthetics and microfibers from ending up in our environment.
But we can easily move on from these hazards by adopting sustainable fashion. Actually sustainable fashion works with a goal which concerns for saving our environment from any kind of negative footprint.
How sustainable fashion can help to solve environmental issues:
Conversation of Natural Resources by Sustainable Fashion:
By recycling products we can easily get back our natural resources & it can be hoped that we can get rid of annihilation of most important products of our nature. And it is a matter of hope that recycled fibers have been proven to be a much more sustainable option, as they solve the most concerned problems of waste management. A study from 2015 shows that to make clothes, 97% new resources are used, only 3% of it are recycled materials.
Reduction of dangerous Carbon Footprints:
The global fashion industry is responsible for global warming. Mainly using the clothes which are petroleum based and made from fossil fuels including polyester, acrylic & nylon are the reasons of environmental hazards. Actually these kinds of materials require more energy than the natural0000 materials. And which fabrics are made from sustainable wood pulp such as TENCEL and also natural fibers such as cotton, hemp, linen are biodegradable which can easily reduce dangerous carbon footprints.
Sustainable Fashion Safeguards Animal Lives:
An estimation showed that over 430 million animals per year are slaughtered & killed for only the leather industry. But sustainable fashion helps our animals because many of the clothes are made from sustainable wood pulp & also clothes of cellulosic, protein & mineral origins.
Requires Less Water in Sustainable Fashion:
Our textile industries, in present or in future, maybe unable to be built up beside or in those areas which have sufficient water. But water is a major resource for the fashion industry & the works of spinning, weaving, knitting, dyeing and finishing process can’t be done without water. How much water we need to have a apparel from the fibers can be said like this-to produce a single T-shirt, it takes an incredible amount of 2700 liters of water! Cotton is highly dependent on water, but is usually grown in hot & dry areas where water is a scarce resource already. On the other hand, organic cotton reduces water consumption by 91%. And if we say about sustainable fabrics, these fabrics require little to no water.
Fairer & Safer Working Condition is Introduced:
It’s a bitter truth that most of the inenarrable masters treat rudely with the workers. Endless working hours, unacceptable health & safety conditions have to be faced by those workers. But if sustainable fashion can be introduced broadly, this time duration can be decreased & also works will be enjoyable!
Healthier for People & Planet:
Almost everyone know about fast fashion but in fast fashion, intense chemicals are used which are actually harmful to health. Around 8000 different synthetic chemicals are used to dye, bleach and wet process garments. Those chemicals are so dangerous that they often cause severe diseases or even deaths among farmers and create acute birth defects on their children.
Some of these chemicals pose a real threat to our health because our skin absorbs anything we put on it even dangerous chemicals! But in using process of sustainable fashion, we don’t have to use those dangerous chemicals at all. So, it’s healthy enough for plants, animals as well as human beings.
Sustainable Fashion Reminds Us How To Love Our Clothes Again:
Everyone feels good when he looks at a gorgeous, finished piece of clothing in a store but forgets the background story of this nice work! It’s not actually our fault at all because we are not introduced with this sustainable fashionable products. And as a result we are unable to make a correct decision of buying anything related with textile. But when sustainable fashion will be introduced, we will be more conscious & get comfortable clothes by proper buying decision.
How Sustainability Can Save The Fashion Industry After COVID-19:
Already many questions have been arisen about the uncertainty of textile industry as well as fashion industries after this pandemic situation of COVID-19. Every sector related with textile is in uncertainty now. But sustainable fashion can do a great job in this case! It’s true that sustainable fashion has not spread its branches in all sectors but it can easily do that very soon. It will easily access in total textile industry as luxury, sport etc. However, it is more relevant than ever as a recent study finds the current crisis that all the textile industries can come back with a great profit by sustainable fashion after the pandemic.
Sustainable fashion will protect critical assets to survey the economic crisis. It can be hoped that sustainability will be an imperative for strong companies & also the entrepreneurs can work with it spontaneously after this pandemic. Sustainable fashion is actually the come back of some products with quality & durability at a time. Then coming to the point of getting facilities in business we can uphold the statement of Kate Heiny, sustainability director at Zalando SE. He said that after this COVID-19, sustainability will help us stay ahead of customers. Last of all we can hope that as it is very much helpful towards our environmental & social issues, so it will be granted unanimously by everyone!
The fashion industry needs to become more sustainable to fulfill the volition of the consumer need & expectations because almost all of the consumers are aware of environmental issues nowadays. So, by keeping in our mind about the pressure of the consumers & also business profits and all over to save our environment we should introduce, establish & start up sustainable fashion in our fashion industries as soon as possible.
Department of Environmental Science and Engineering
Bangladesh University of Textiles (BUTEX)
You can read another article of the same author: Textile Recycling: Reducing Waste and Promoting Circular Economy