Tesla is Ditching Leather in Their Cars – Here’s Why This is More Than Just a Win for Vegans
Ever since debuting their first automobile in 2008, Tesla has become a leader in making eco-friendly cars. Now a household name, Tesla has sold upwards of 186,000 electric cars as of December 2016, and the figure keeps on growing as people are looking for ways to minimize their impact on the environment.
And now Tesla has once again proved they are leaders in the technology field by ditching leather seats in favor of 100 percent vegan leather seats, allowing for an even opportunity to minimize one’s carbon footprint when purchasing a car.
All mention of leather has been removed from Tesla’s website and all upgraded interiors are now referred to with Tesla’s “premium” designation, which is applied to the original rollout of vegan seats made of a new synthetic material. The alternative leather has seen overwhelmingly positive feedback from consumers!
People are increasingly becoming aware of the environmental issues associated with animal agriculture. This destructive industry currently occupies over half of the world’s arable land resources, uses the majority of our freshwater stores, and drives more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transportation sector combined. Plus, industrialized animal agriculture also causes rampant air and water pollution, land degradation, deforestation and is pushing countless species to the brink of extinction.
But when it comes to the leather industry, the connection between its environmental impact usually isn’t made. The leather industry is also among the major causes of deforestation (as it is closely tied to the meat industry), water pollution, and other threats to the environment.
Once the hide or skin has been harvested from the slaughtered animal, there is a three-stage process it must undergo to become leather. The remaining flesh is scraped away and the hairs removed, after which the skin is treated (tanned) to ensure it doesn’t decompose. The skin is then thinned, re-tanned, lubricated, and, if required, dyed. This process uses several chemicals and toxins including ammonia; cyanide-based dyes, formaldehyde; and lead. Some of these products are carcinogenic, and all are environmental pollutants, which end up released into the air, ground, and water supply. These processes are especially polluting in countries where environmental regulations aren’t enforced.
As people learn the truth about the brutal and unsustainable leather industry, many companies are creating innovative alternatives to animal products. For instance, Green Banana Paper, a startup from Kosrae in Micronesia, created a cruelty-free leather made of banana fiber and another startup, Mycoworks, is making a leather from mushrooms. Pineapple is also getting in on the cruelty-free leather fun!
And now technology giant Tesla is paving the way for a more sustainable future. While buying a Telsa may not be within everyone’s budget, this move may inspire other manufacturers to switch to 100 percent vegan leather interiors. With a mission statement to “accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy,” Tesla’s move to vegan leather seats is a huge win for animals, as well as our planet.