Cactus leather - yay or nay?

Two entrepreneurs from Mexico have crafted an eco-friendly leather by developing a method of transforming cacti into a vegan leather. Marte Cázarez and Adrián López Velarde are on a mission to disrupt the $80 billion industry for leather by replicating to a high standard that is indistinguishable from the original. The entrepreneurs leveraged the cacti growing on their plantation in the Mexican state of Zacatecas, to create what they’ve called Desserto.

Desserto may become the new leather, and there are many compelling reasons why. Leather is currently one of the world’s most traded products, however, in order to preserve leather products, harsh chemicals are used which creates environmental concerns for many within the local and global communities. 

How do they do it? Mature leaves are cut from organically grown cactus plants, cleaned, mashed, and then left out in the sun to dry for approximately three days (there’s an art to this) prior to processing. As a result, you have a certified organic vegan leather product that is highly durable.

A common issue with leather is that it doesn’t ‘breathe’ - the benefits of the vegan leather is that the organic material solves the problem. The company has already manufactured handbags, shoes and even car seats with their vegan leather. It’s currently at the same cost of the traditional material, however, as adoption increases, economies of scales can be leveraged making it a far more cost-effective and sustainable alternative for our planet.


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