"Impact assessment studies suggest that vegan leather goods, crafted from innovative materials such as plant-based fibers and recycled synthetics, offer a promising solution to mitigate the environmental impact associated with the traditional leather industry. These alternatives not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption, and land use, but also alleviate animal welfare concerns, making vegan leather an attractive choice for conscious consumers seeking sustainable and cruelty-free fashion options." (Source: Environmental Impact Assessment of Vegan Leather Goods, Journal of Sustainable Fashion, 2022)


Not all vegan leather is created equal. When considering our children, material is always important! In this article we discuss some popular vegan leather materials and their impact on the environment and our health. Plus, find out what makes the Mercurii Baby Play Mat your perfect non-toxic vegan leather baby play mat. 

Baby Play Time On Play Mat
Baby Leather Play Mat At The Beach
Baby Nap on Play Mat

Common Leather Mat Materials

Vegan leather, also known as faux leather or synthetic leather, is a sustainable and cruelty-free alternative to traditional animal leather. It is made from a variety of materials, with the most common being polyurethane (PU) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). These synthetic materials are combined with other substances such as fabric or foam to create a durable and leather-like material.

PU vegan leather is typically created by coating a fabric base, often made from polyester or cotton, with a layer of polyurethane. This process gives the material a smooth and glossy finish, similar to genuine leather. PVC vegan leather, on the other hand, is produced by applying a plastic coating onto a fabric backing. This coating can be made to mimic the texture and appearance of real leather.

In recent years, there have been advancements in the production of vegan leather using alternative materials. Some companies are exploring plant-based options like recycled rubber, pineapple fibers, mushroom-derived materials, or even apple peels. These innovative approaches offer more environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional synthetic materials and aim to reduce the overall ecological impact of vegan leather production.

vegan leather
vegan leather goods

Common Harmful Vegan Leather Materials

While innovation is incredible for pushing forward business development, creating jobs and pushing forward society. Not all innovation are created equal. 

The two most common faux leather material includes Polyurethane (PU) & Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC). Let's explore how they affect us and our environment. 

Effects of Polyurethane in Vegan Leather

Polyurethane (PU) is a versatile synthetic material commonly used in various industries, including the production of vegan leather.While PU has several advantageous properties, it is important to consider its effects on the environment and human health.

From an environmental perspective, the production of polyurethane involves the use of petrochemicals, which are derived from non-renewable fossil fuels. This extraction process contributes to carbon dioxide emissions and the depletion of natural resources. Additionally, the manufacturing of PU requires the use of toxic chemicals, such as isocyanates, which can have adverse effects on air and water quality if not properly managed. Disposal of PU products can also pose challenges, as they are not easily biodegradable and can persist in landfills for an extended period.

In terms of human health, the potential risks associated with polyurethane primarily lie in its production and handling. The exposure to isocyanates during the manufacturing process can lead to respiratory issues, skin irritation, and allergic reactions. Workers involved in the production or application of polyurethane products must adhere to stringent safety measures to minimize the risks.

It is also worth noting that coating process uses dimethylformamide which is a dangerous toxin that has been linked to birth defects. While research is still being done on long term affects of PU Faux leather after production, as a mother there is too much unknown for me to feel comfortable with using products using Polyurethane vegan leather or foam. 

Effects of Polyvinyl Chloride in Vegan Leather

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is a widely used synthetic material with various applications, including in the production of vegan leather. However, it is important to be aware of the potential effects of PVC on human health and the environment.

From an environmental standpoint, PVC has raised concerns due to its reliance on chlorine, a chemical derived from fossil fuels. The production of chlorine and PVC involves the release of toxic chemicals, such as dioxins and phthalates. Dioxins are persistent organic pollutants that can accumulate in the environment and have harmful effects on ecosystems. They are known to be toxic, carcinogenic, and can disrupt hormone function. Phthalates, commonly used as plasticizers in PVC, have been linked to endocrine disruption and adverse reproductive and developmental effects.

Furthermore, PVC is not easily recyclable and can contaminate recycling streams if mixed with other plastics. When incinerated, PVC releases toxic chemicals and can contribute to the formation of hazardous byproducts.

In terms of human health, exposure to PVC and its associated additives can occur during the manufacturing, use, and disposal of PVC-based products. The chemicals released from PVC, such as phthalates and vinyl chloride monomers, have been linked to various health concerns. Phthalates have been associated with hormone disruption, reproductive issues, and potential developmental effects in children. Vinyl chloride monomers, which are used in PVC production, are classified as human carcinogens and have been linked to liver cancer and other health problems.

It is very important to note that individuals and industries are encouraged to explore alternative materials, such as bio-based or recycled polymers, as well as other sustainable options like water-based coatings, to mitigate the environmental and health impacts associated with PVC.

What is Mercurii Baby's Vegan Leather Play Mat Made Of?

The Mercurii Baby Vegan Leather Play Mat is a versatile and eco-friendly choice for parents seeking a safe and comfortable play surface for their little ones. This play mat is crafted from recycled rubber, making it a sustainable option that helps reduce waste and environmental impact. It is designed to be non-toxic, ensuring the safety of babies and toddlers during playtime. The vegan leather material is easy to wipe clean, making maintenance a breeze for busy parents. With its weather-resistant properties, the play mat can be used both indoors and outdoors, providing a durable and versatile solution. The mat is also portable, allowing parents to easily transport it for outings or visits to family and friends. For added comfort, the play mat is padded with organic cotton, offering a soft and supportive surface for babies to crawl, roll, and play. Furthermore, the double-sided feature allows moms to use the mat on any surface, providing flexibility and convenience. With the Mercurii Baby Vegan Leather Play Mat, parents can create a safe and enjoyable play area for their little ones while making sustainable and conscious choices for the environment.

Non-Toxic Baby Leather Play Mat

The use of recycled rubber as a leather alternative for leather goods offers several significant environmental and health benefits:

  1. Waste Reduction: Utilizing recycled rubber helps divert waste from landfills. By repurposing discarded rubber materials, such as tires, the demand for new raw materials is reduced, minimizing environmental impact and conserving valuable resources.

  2. Energy and Water Conservation: The production of recycled rubber leather requires less energy and water compared to the traditional leather manufacturing process. It avoids the energy-intensive and water-consuming processes involved in raising animals, tanning hides, and chemical treatments associated with conventional leather production.

  3. Reduced Chemical Usage: Recycled rubber leather alternatives typically involve fewer toxic chemicals in their production compared to traditional leather. The tanning process used in traditional leather production involves the use of various chemicals, including chromium and formaldehyde, which can be harmful to human health and the environment. Recycled rubber leather reduces the reliance on such chemicals, minimizing the associated risks.

  4. Improved Air and Water Quality: The production of recycled rubber leather has a lower environmental impact in terms of air and water pollution. Traditional leather production processes can release harmful pollutants into the air and water systems, contributing to environmental degradation. By opting for recycled rubber leather alternatives, the emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other harmful substances are reduced, improving overall air and water quality.

  5. Healthier Working Conditions: The manufacturing of recycled rubber leather involves less exposure to hazardous chemicals, providing safer working conditions for those involved in the production process. This is particularly important for the health and well-being of workers in the leather industry.

By choosing recycled rubber leather alternatives for leather goods, parents like you can contribute to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly fashion industry, while also promoting healthier choices for both the planet and human health.

Baby Play Mat
Baby Leather Play Mat
May 24, 2023 — Gabriela Wentworth

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