I used to buy leather shoes, belts and purses and didn't give it a second thought. It was the "normal thing to do." And I used to think buying leather and suede jackets were cool in my late 20's. Although I never ate a lot of meat, I used to think that leather was a by-product of the meat industry. But as I evolved and educated myself on the subject, I changed. Now I strive to lead a leather-free life. Here is why: Despite popular belief, leather is not a byproduct of the meat industry. It’s produced because it is a highly profitable and a very lucrative billion dollar business. In fact, much of the leather sold, especially the growing demand for exotic leather, comes from animals killed primarily for their skins. Cows provide the bulk of leather used, while goats, pigs, sheep, ostriches and dogs and cats (in China) supplement the high demand for leather products.
Almost all of us has heard of the term "Recycling." But what about the term "Upcycling?" With this innovative eco-friendly concept, we turn someone trash into another person's treasure. Upcycling - also known as creative reuse - is the process of transforming waste materials, useless and/or unwanted products into fresh, new materials or products of better quality and/or better value. In the photos above by Recman Brasil, for example, old inner tubes (of tires) or fire hoses are upcycled into stylish and durable (vegan) handbags, wallets or belts.