Is Banana Leather Vegan + Sustainable?

By Adriane Marie â€˘  Updated: 11/03/22 â€˘  8 min read

Is banana leather vegan and sustainable? These are questions every ethical consumer asks. Here is how buying banana leather will impact you, the environment, animals and laborers. 

is banana leather vegan and sustainable

Fabric, materials and textiles are things we consume often. If you’re like me, you do all the research you can to make sure you don’t hurt yourself, the planet, animals or others when shopping. As an ethical consumer myself, I am giving you all the info I’ve found on banana leather.

You are going to learn all about banana leather’s vegan and sustainability status. Additionally, the following info will include banana leather advantages and disadvantages for your home, whether banana leather is a natural fiber, biodegradable…or perhaps even destructive!

After learning if banana leather is vegan and sustainable you will be able to make the best choices you can the next time you shop.

This post is all about learning if banana leather is vegan and sustainable.

All About Banana Leather + It’s Impact On Animals, People, Planet

HOME

Durability: pros banana leather is extremely durable, waterproof

Versatility: pros banana leather replaces cowhide leather

Accessibility: banana leather is hard to find

Banana leather is…

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ENVIRONMENT

Fiber source: natural, banana leather is a natural fiber, made from 100% fibers of the banana plant stem

Biodegradable: yes, banana leather is biodegradable

Destruction: low to high, low compared to other fibers, banana fiber production is extremely resource-efficient, it is renewable, widely available, no additional water or land are needed for its production, high if not organic, moderate if organic, banana crops must typically be grown in warm, tropical climates, the world’s primary exporters of bananas are Ecuador, Colombia, Costa Rica and Guatemala and tend to travel long distances to be sold commercially, bananas use more agrochemicals per hectare than any other crop in the world, banana plantations are associated with monocropping, which causes the soil structure and quality to be so poor that farmers must use chemical fertilizers to encourage plant growth and fruit production, pesticides and fertilizers contaminate ground water and become airborne, creating pollution, monocropping is not an issue if the product is organic, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc.

Banana leather is…

ANIMALS

Kills: none, banana leather production does not require any animals to be killed

Harms: none, banana leather production does not require any animals to be used

Indirectly kills or harms: potentially fish and coral reefs, banana waste is sometimes discarded in streams, while decomposing the waste depletes the water of oxygen, which threatens fish and microorganisms, Caribbean banana plantation runoff causes damage to estuaries and coral reefs, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as pesticides harm and kill wildlife and ecosystems by contaminating soil, water, air and plants that animals eat

Banana leather is…

LABORERS

Health and safety: hazardous, exposure to toxic pesticides, toxic fungicides are sprayed from airplanes flying overhead, after being exposed to chemicals, they experience ”headaches, fever, dizziness, red eyes, stomach aches, nausea, vomiting, trembling and shaking, itching, burning nostrils, fatigue, and aching bones”, must use sharp knives and machetes, must haul heavy loads of bananas, drink unsanitary water, sexual harassment

Living conditions: poor, in Ecuador (the world’s largest banana exporter) children as young as eight work on banana plantations where a typical workday lasts twelve hours, approximately 1% of banana workers are associated with workers’ rights organizations, anti-union discrimination when hiring, lack adequate access to and bathrooms

Wages: low, children earn an average of $3.50 per day in Ecuador, approximately 60% of the legal minimum wage for banana workers, it is estimated plantation workers receive a mere 1-3% of a banana’s retail value

Bananas leather…

What are banana leather uses?

Banana leather uses include making shoes, belts, handbags and as an overall cowhide leather substitute.

banana leather is durable.

durable, long lasting fabrics, materials and textiles

Is banana leather durable or delicate? Banana leather is extremely durable, waterproof and long lasting when cared for properly.

For every 5 garments produced, the equivalent of 3 end up in a landfill or incinerated each year!

One reason for such wastefulness society’s ever growing desire to acquire. Fast fashion (creating low-priced items at high volumes) is problematic for a number of reasons and promotes the attitude that clothing is nearly disposable.

But another component of such a quick turnaround on clothing is because it’s just not lasting long enough. Snags, stains, warping and shrinkage render items unusable and unacceptable for the  donation pile. Avoid such problems by buying better quality, more durable, long lasting materials. Timeless wardrobe favorites that last for years and years are more sustainable and reduce the need for replacements. 

Every second, the equivalent of one garbage truck full of textiles burns or goes to landfills…

Keep minimalism in mind and buy less, borrow and buy items second hand. Thrift shops offer many inexpensive, unique finds that have already proven to stand the test of time!

banana leather is moderately sustainable.

sustainable shopping, for eco friendly brands and products good for the environment

Is banana leather eco friendly and sustainable? Yes, overall, banana leather is sustainable. Compared to other fibers, banana fiber production is extremely resource-efficient, renewable and widely available. When compared to traditional cowhide leather, banana leather is far more sustainable overall.

Banana leather may be unsustainable if bananas are not organic or moderately sustainable if organic.

Banana crops typically grow in warm, tropical climates. The world’s primary exporters of bananas are Ecuador, Colombia, Costa Rica and Guatemala. Bananas tend to travel long distances and crops use more agrochemicals per hectare than any other crop in the world. Banana plantations have high rates of monocropping, which causes the soil structure and quality to be so poor that farmers must use chemical fertilizers to encourage plant growth and fruit production. Pesticides and fertilizers contaminate ground water and become airborne, creating pollution. Monocropping is not an issue if the product is organic.

With the high number of animals unnaturally bred onto the planet in the name of human utilization, specifically ruminants (cows, sheep, goats, deer, camels, etc.), they emit high volumes of carbon emissions and contaminate air, soil and water with their waste (excrement). This is also toxic to ecosystems and wildlife. 

Wow! â€¦So it’s time to start using sustainable fabrics, materials and textiles.

banana leather is vegan but may negatively impact wildlife.

vegan-material

Is banana leather vegan? Yes, banana leather is vegan but it may negatively impact wildlife.

Banana waste is sometimes discarded into streams. While decomposing, the waste depletes the water of oxygen, which threatens fish and microorganisms. Caribbean banana plantation runoff causes damage to estuaries and coral reefs.

Cows, sheep, alpacas, goats, ducks and foxes are animals commonly subject to exploitation for their skins, hair or feathers. In fact, BILLIONS of them die every single year simply in the name of fashion. 

Dressing and decorating vegan is easier than ever with this: Vegan Fabrics, Materials and Textiles List

banana leather is a material that indirectly has labor issues.

benefits of buying fair trade, labor rights, human rights and workers rights issues

Is banana leather a material that has known labor issues? At this time, there are no known specific reports of worker mistreatment regarding banana leather production but there are concerns regarding banana production.

When banana farming, workers face exposure to toxic pesticides and toxic fungicides sprayed from airplanes flying overhead. After chemical exposure, laborers may experience ”headaches, fever, dizziness, red eyes, stomach aches, nausea, vomiting, trembling and shaking, itching, burning nostrils, fatigue, and aching bones”. They must use sharp knives and machetes and haul heavy loads of bananas. Reports have exposed drink unsanitary water and sexual harassment.

In Ecuador (the world’s largest banana exporter) children as young as eight work on banana plantations where a typical workday lasts twelve hours. Approximately 1% of banana workers are part of workers’ rights organizations and there is anti-union discrimination when hiring.

Wages for workers are typically low and banana farming children earn an average of $3.50 per day in Ecuador (approximately 60% of the legal minimum wage for banana workers. Plantation workers receive a mere 1-3% of a banana’s retail value.

Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation. Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards. We can improve people’s lives simply by being mindful to buy items that are certified fair trade. 

Sources:

From Waste to Value: Banana Fibre for Fashion and Textiles

From Apples to Kombucha Tea: See the Ingenious Way Designers Are Making Vegan Leather

Human Rights Watch: Ecuador: Widespread Labor Abuse on Banana Plantations

Food Empowerment Project: PEELING BACK THE TRUTH ON BANANAS

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all

Grandview Research: Synthetic Leather Market Worth $40.9 Billion By 2027 | CAGR: 4.4%

Adriane Marie

Hi, I'm Adriane, creator of HEALabel! I organize info for you to comprehensively see how purchases impact health, environment, animals and laborers. Stay aware because you care! Subscribe below to get my weekly newsletter with tips, new info and other ethical consumer insight.

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