MATERIAL OF CHOICE
We choose to use 100% vegetable tanned leather here at Three Tiny Words. Not only is it beautiful, but it is also the most eco-friendly of all the tanning leather processes.
Vegetable tanning is just that - it's an organic method of preparing the leather that dates back to 6000 BCE. It relies on natural vegetable tannins from bark and other plant tissues to create the beautiful patinas and finishes that you see in all our products.
SUSTAINABILITY OF LEATHER
The majority of tanners around the world now use proper equipment and waste management procedures to make good quality leather. More and more these days leather from these tanneries can legitimately be called sustainable. It comes from a renewable organic source and is produced safely without undue waste.
The definition of sustainability that is most often referred to is from the Brundtland Commission in the 1980s:
’Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.’
In fact most of what we used to call waste in the tannery is now a raw material for other products like gelatin or energy, and the water is cleaned and increasingly re-used. The use of materials, water, and power in the tannery have been greatly reduced.
WHAT'S VEGAN LEATHER?
This one has always confused me too. Vegan "leather" isn't leather at all. Not even close. I'm not actually sure why the word leather is even involved. Crazy, right?
What is traditionally sold as vegan leather are often types of petroleum-based products, which can be argued to have a much greater environmental impact for our planet. Some of the vegan products aren't even biodegradable (like real leather). They are typically used for cheaper, fast fashion, and is a poorer quality that will need to be replaced sooner unlike leather, that can last a very long time if treated properly.