Polyurethane, or PU for short, is a material derived from plastic. PU leather is an artificial imitation of genuine leather, made primarily from polyurethane, a plastic polymer itself derived from petroleum. The aim is to recreate the appearance and main advantages of leather at a reduced cost and without the use of animal materials. Artificial leather, or imitation leather, is made of a plastic applied to a piece of fabric. This is why there are many possibilities in terms of colours, structures, patterns and shapes.
The production of imitation leather has a smaller impact on the environment than real leather (because there are no stages of breeding, salting, tanning, etc.).
Due to the origin of its materials and its manufacturing process, PU leather costs significantly less than natural leather. It is resistant to water and sunlight, unlike real leather which will tend to acquire marks or a patina. The material is easy to clean and maintain and does not require the same care as real leather over time.
PU leather is very easily customisable in terms of shapes, textures, thickness and colours; the only limit is your imagination (and your budget)!
Finally, artificial leather, if made from 100% PU, is a vegan leather that does not use animal materials and thus meets the obvious ethical considerations.
PU leather requires a lot of chemicals for its manufacture and relies on fossil fuels, making it not very environmentally friendly. Made from petroleum polymers, the material often has quite unpleasant chemical and plastic odours.
Since PU leather is not a natural material, it does not evolve over time and does not develop the beautiful patina of genuine leather, a sign of quality and authenticity. In addition, the rendering can often appear “false” or artificial depending on the material manufacturing process.
Its polyurethane-based composition guarantees its strength, but does allow the material little stretchability, which means that it tears quite easily over time due to the friction and twisting that the product undergoes. Finally, PU leather does not deteriorate or decompose; only mechanical recycling is possible at the current time in order to recycle the material.
We can make your next PU items, but we can also offer you in particular new recycled or non-fossil-derived materials to help you reduce your environmental footprint. Feel free to contact us to discuss your future project.