The leather industry is notorious for its environmental impact, with animal raising and tanning processes contributing to deforestation, water pollution, and worker exposure to harmful chemicals. Vegan alternatives like plastic-based pleather are not much better for the environment due to their reliance on petroleum-based materials. However, a sustainable alternative has emerged in the form of cactus leather.
Cactus leather, specifically Desserto leather, is made from the nopal cactus, which is fast-growing and requires little water and no pesticides to thrive. This makes it an eco-friendly and sustainable material that promotes regenerative agriculture. Additionally, the prickly pear cactus used to make the leather sequesters carbon, making it a carbon sink that can help mitigate the effects of climate change.
Desserto’s cactus leather processing is certified organic and uses only rainwater for its plants, making it energy-efficient and eco-friendly. The leather is also breathable and waterproof, thanks to its biodegradable polyurethane coating and natural fiber backing. However, it is only partially biodegradable, and the brand does not disclose the exact contents of its patented secret formula.
Despite this limitation, cactus leather is a promising sustainable alternative to traditional leather and plastic-based vegan materials. Its durability, eco-friendliness, and contribution to regenerative agriculture make it a viable option for the fashion industry and beyond.