Two Men Created “Leather” From Cactus to Save Animals and the Environment
As one of the world’s most traded products, leather is part of a booming $80 billion industry. But, its use of animal products and harsh chemicals makes leather problematic not only for animal rights activists but environmentalists. Luckily, two entrepreneurs from Mexico have worked to find a leather alternative that is not only eco-friendly but has the look and feel of real leather. So what are they using to make their faux-leather? The answer might surprise you.
Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázarez have developed a method of transforming cacti into a vegan leather that looks so realistic, you’d never guess it was made from this desert plant. They called their cactus vegan leather Desserto and it is made from cacti grown on their plantation in the Mexican state of the Zacatecas. The cactus is known for its rugged, thick skin, which makes it the perfect texture to simulate animal leather.
“The idea of using this raw material was conceived because this plant does not need any water to grow, and there is plenty of it throughout the Mexican Republic. Also, symbolically, it represents all of us Mexicans and everybody knows it,” shared López Velarde. “Besides, to be able to incorporate this material into various industries, it is essential to count on a stable, abundant supply of raw material. We currently have 2 hectares where we cultivate nopals, as well as an expansion capacity of 40 hectares. Regarding production capacity, we have 500,000 linear meters a month.”
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