As well as being a health concern, there are some environmental concerns with faux leather. PVC materials will not biodegrade, so if it is thrown away, it will remain in a landfill permanently.
Some faux leather jackets can be recycled, at which point the Plastic #3 could be melted and used again but not everyone chooses this option, tossing their worn, peeling faux leather pieces into the garbage. Burning PVC releases toxic compounds into the air, so this is yet another concern for our planet.
PU materials will eventually decompose after about 500 years and are safer to burn due to the lower Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) they contain, but they still aren’t the most environmentally-friendly option.
Real leather is an organic material, so it decomposes completely in about 50 years, plus it contains no harmful chemicals that leach into the ground or disperse into the air, making it a safer choice for our planet.
Some people want their coats, bags, pants, or furniture in a variety of colors, which is one other area where faux leather excels. Both the PU and PVC faux leather materials are mass-produced, with rollers adding a variety of grain patterns. This also allows these materials to be dyed any color of the rainbow, so if you want a piece colored red, blue, silver, purple, or black, you’ll likely be able to find one that you like.
Leather comes from animals, so it retains the natural color of that animal’s hide. That’s why real leather comes in a few shades of brown or black, limiting the color options that you can choose from. This doesn’t make them a lesser choice since the pieces are still stylish and appealing, you just shouldn’t expect to find any brightly colored leather items.