Two guys have discovered a way to turn cactus leaves into leather to help the environment

June 7th, 2021

Climate change is no joke.

swiggle1 dot pattern2
Pexels|Markus Spiske Source: Pexels|Markus Spiske

Our world is suffering from it, whether people accept or deny that. Storms, heatwaves, forest fires, the melting of the ice caps – these are some of the effects and evidence of climate change.

Its main cause? We, humans.

swiggle1 dot pattern2
Pexels|Markus Destelrath Source: Pexels|Markus Destelrath

Human activity contributes most, if not all, of this. The use of fossil fuels and coal, extraction of natural resources, deforestation, animal killings – all contribute to the deterioration of the Earth’s health.

Mother Earth needs all the help we could give.

swiggle1 dot pattern2
Pexels|Vlada Karpovich Source: Pexels|Vlada Karpovich

Our little steps of reducing, reusing, and recycling waste is one thing. But there’s a bigger problem at hand, and that is the bigger companies who contribute to the waste. How do we resolve this?

Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázarez found a great way to help.

swiggle1 dot pattern2 Source:

Adrián works with leather in the car industry; Marte in the fashion industry. Both men acknowledge the fact that leather is not helping the environment at all.

The use of leather in the fashion industry alone is problematic.

swiggle1 dot pattern2
Pexels|Kevin Menajang Source: Pexels|Kevin Menajang

In 2019, there were 208 million pounds of waste generated by single-use garments. Almost 20% of the global wastewater is from the fashion industry. Among all the textiles used in fashion, leather contributes to a massive portion of pollution. The tanning and post tanning processes in creating leather are one of the biggest sources of Chromium waste.

So, they came up with an eco-friendly way to create leather – cactus.

swiggle1 dot pattern2 Source:

Desserto uses prickly-pear and nopal varieties of cacti to create leather because these are abundant in Mexico and do not need much water to grow. It also doesn’t mean they’re “destroying” nature when using the cacti to create leather.

The process involves less waste, too.

swiggle1 dot pattern2 Source:

First, they cut the mature leaves – not uproot the entire plant – which still allows the small ones to grow. The leaves will then be washed, mashed, and dried for three days. Then, they mix it with non-toxic chemicals, which they patented before it could be shaped to any texture and color.

With this innovation, it cuts down a lot of waste.

swiggle1 dot pattern2 Source:

They dry the mashed cactus leaves under the sun, so they don’t use additional energy for it. Their patented chemical is non-toxic, and they grow their cacti organically – no pesticides and herbicides.

More so, their plantation helps the environment.

swiggle1 dot pattern2 Source:

They did not cut any trees to make their plantation. Cactus is also a perennial plant. They only have to plant it once, and it will last them eight years. Plus, greener fields of cacti mean absorbing CO2 in the environment.

They also assure quality materials.

swiggle1 dot pattern2 Source:

The cactus leather can last up to ten years. It’s biodegradable, so it decomposes through time. It is flexible, durable, and can be used for any by-product.

Adrián told Fashion United:

“It’s the right time to offer this alternative, because not only are consumer industries interested in new materials like these, but also more and more end-consumers are demanding environmentally friendly materials.”

swiggle1 dot pattern2
Pexels|Alena Koval Source: Pexels|Alena Koval

This should be a wake-up call to the rest of the suppliers and companies, not only in the fashion industry. As more consumers demands eco-friendly alternatives, the rest of the industries should step up.

swiggle1 dot pattern2 Source:

We’re glad Adrián and Marte are in the right direction.

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

Source: Desserto, Green Matters, Fashion United, National Geographic, Science Direct, Edge Expo