In 2011, India was forced to close 49 of its lucrative leather plants. India is the world’s third largest leather supplier and these shut downs were not from lack of demand in the industry or revenue. The closures were necessary because the nearby river was so contaminated with chemicals from leather production that the workers and residents were getting sick.
This isn’t an uncommon occurrence. Making leather, fur, and wool is costly to the environment. Among the chemicals used are chromium, formic acid, and mercury – all linked with causing cancer, kidney damage, and other serious ailments. In many cases, these textiles are made in other countries with less regulated disposal methods. This means the leftovers get dumped in the nearest body of water. These concerns are on top of the environmental impact raising animals already has on our planet.
You may already know where to find faux leather and faux fur to wear, but you did you know that there are just as many options available for use in the home?
Fur pillows are popular because they add texture and glamour to any room. You can achieve the same look without dumping 1,000 tons of phosphorus to the environment each year. There are some charming alternatives to fur pillows from Bed, Bath, and Beyond and Esty (see below).
Many rugs are made from wool. But wool isn’t as harmless on the environment as you may think. Wool requires a large amount of water in production. The amount of sheep required to produce a commercial volume of wool requires land, feed, and chemicals (for keeping ticks and lice off of the sheep). Colin Dunn of Treehugger.com wrote in his article Which is Greener: Wool or Cotton?, “… from raising the sheep to cleaning the fiber; it takes approximately 500,000 liters of water to manufacture a metric ton of wool”. Alternatives to wool rugs include polyester and hemp rugs (featured below).
The leather sofa has been an in-home favorite forever. You can still have that look without harming the planet. Faux leather technology has come a long way in recent years and in higher quality manufacturing, the difference has become unnoticeable. The even better news is that these couches are often times much less expensive than the authentic versions. Try these classy looking faux leather and cotton couches from Wayfair, Overstock, and Room & Board (below).
Here’s the list of Vegan, Eco-Friendly decor:
1.) Faux Fur pillow from Bed Bath and Beyond.
2.) On Etsy. Made from Organic Cotton.
3.) On Etsy. Made from water based ink and natural linens. Comes in a variety of colors.
4.) An IKEA vegan rug.
5.) Home Decorations Hemp Rug.
6.) Faux leather sofa from Wayfair.
7.) A super cool grey faux leather sofa from Overstock.com
8.) A green cotton and polyester sofa from Room & Board.
AUTHOR: Amy Shafer is a freelanceauthor on environmentally conscious home design and decoration. She is a contributor to Interior Excellence, a New Jersey basement remodeling and interior design blog.