PU Leather vs. Vegan Leather, what's the difference?

PU Leather vs. Vegan Leather, what's the difference?

  • Clearing acres of land and using up huge amounts of feed, pastureland, water, and fossil fuels for animal farming
  • Keeping animals in a miserable state
  • Transporting them to slaughterhouses in appalling conditions 
  • Mutilating and killing them inhumanely 
  • Rising health issues for workers

Producing real leather from animal skin is not only barbaric but also grievously impacts humans and the environment in unthinkable ways. But, with continuously spreading awareness on such detrimental effects of procuring real leather, many consumers have shifted their fashion choices to its eco-friendly alternatives. Many designers and international brands now focus on manufacturing vegan leather products to aid animal and environment conservation. Vegan leather helps make as luxurious products as real leather with sustainably sourced materials without bringing any harm to the animals, environment, or humans. Vegan leather comes in many forms, made with different materials. Today, through this blog, we will talk about PU leather and differentiate between PU leather and vegan leather.

What is PU leather?

PU leather, also called Polyurethane leather or Pleather, is an artificially made leather using thermoplastic polymers (a type of plastic). Since its manufacturing process does not involve any animal-derived ingredient or animal by-product, it is considered vegan. Many fashion products like shoes, bags, and leather jackets are made with PU leather. It has a real leather-like texture and ruggedness. Though PU leather is a healthier and vegan alternative to real leather, it is not entirely eco-friendly as it contains some form of plastic. 

What is Vegan Leather?

Vegan leather is a healthier and eco-friendly alternative to genuine animal leather. Vegan leather is of two types. 

  • Organic vegan leather. Organic vegan leather is made with 100% plant-based ingredients like cork, pineapple leaves, apple peels, cactus leaves, mushrooms, and many other natural ingredients. Organic vegan leather is 100% eco-friendly. 
  • Synthetic leather. Synthetic vegan leather is made with polyurethane or thermoplastic polymers and even recycled plastic. Though synthetic vegan leather is sustainable and ethical, it is not entirely eco-friendly as it is made with plastic polymers.

These innovative and sustainable materials are great for manufacturing as good fashion products as animal leather and at a much affordable price than real leather. They do not come at the cost of animals, humans, or the environment. 

Difference between PU leather and Vegan leather

There are no significant differences between PU leather and vegan leather. PU leather happens to be a part of vegan leather. While vegan leather is made with polyurethane and other organic plant ingredients and by-products, PU leather is polyurethane leather made with thermoplastic polymers. Both the leathers are innovative and sustainable. To go deeper into the understanding of PU leather and vegan leather, let us go through their pros and cons. 

Pros of PU leather

  • PU leather is safe for animals and humans.
  • Since PU leather does not have any animal-derived ingredients or animal by-products, it is termed ‘vegan.’
  • PU leather is easy to produce and costs less than real animal leather.
  • PU leather uses fewer resources in manufacturing, making it a sustainable alternative.
  • This leather is waterproof, making it easy to clean with a damp cloth or oil. 
  • It does not dry out like real leather. 
  • It can be given any style or color during its manufacturing process.

Cons of PU leather

  • PU leather is not 100% eco-friendly as it is made with some form of plastic, which isn’t biodegradable. 
  • It is not highly durable because it can wear down and crack over time.
  • It is not breathable. 
  • It doesn’t have the same luster or shine as genuine leather. 
  • Raw PU leather can smell of chemicals or plastic. 

Pros of Vegan Leather

  • Since organic vegan leather is made with entirely organic plant leaves(cactus, pineapple leaves), tree bark (cork), or food waste(apple peels), it is 100% eco-friendly.
  • Vegan leather is 100% safe for animals, plants, and the environment. 
  • Vegan leather is much affordable than real leather. 
  • Vegan leather is a sustainable and ethical way to create luxury fashion products. 
  • Vegan leather can be given many colors, styles, and textures. 
  • It is easy to manufacture and requires very less water during its manufacturing process.

Cons of Vegan Leather

  • It could sometimes be low-quality and less durable (depending on the brand you buy it from).
  • Vegan leather is more vulnerable to wear and tear.
  • It doesn’t maintain its luster and shine for a long time. 

Which is better, PU Leather or Vegan Leather?

Organic, faux, and vegan leather were invented for animal welfare and environmental conservation. It has greatly impacted protecting wildlife from getting killed for their skin and conserving the environment. Many designers and brands have stepped forward in recent years and explored organic ingredients to manufacture 100% eco-friendly leather. 

While PU leather is not entirely eco-friendly, it has had a significant impact in bringing down the killing of animals for their skin. On the other hand, vegan leather uses recycled plastic and organic plant-based ingredients to create 100% eco-friendly products. While vegan leather is purely eco-friendly, it is still not majorly produced worldwide, but PU leather is majorly manufactured and used worldwide and is also vegan, which is why one cannot be termed better than the other. 

Gunas For Vegan and PU Leather

Gunas, your only source for vegan handbags, shoes, and accessories, has consistently voiced against animal abuse and killing for leather. We manufacture luxury bags and shoes with eco-friendly PU leather, vegan leather, and recycled plastic. We have also been on a constant search for eco-friendly alternatives of real leather and explored ‘MULBTEX (TM),’ 100% organic material made with mulberry plant leaf pulp. We manufacture many products using this environment-friendly material, including our vegan leather shoulder bag

Wrapping Up

PU leather and vegan leather are better and healthier alternatives to killing animals for their skin to procure leather. It also protects workers against skin cancer and other diseases from harmful chemicals used in tanneries. On the other hand, it does not significantly impact the environment as real leather. Once 100% eco-friendly alternatives are widely available and consumers start leaving real leather goods on the shelf, brands will realize the need to bring a change in their manufacturing process. Only then can we think of beautiful earth where animals aren’t killed for fashion. 

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