Vegan-Friendliness of Toyota SofTex® Leather Substitute Material
Toyota offers an innovative material on the top trims of many of their models. This material is a step beyond synthetic leather; the automaker calls it Toyota SofTex®.
If you prefer to have no animal products utilized in your materials, you’re likely wondering: is Toyota SofTex® vegan?
Yes, Toyota SofTex® is vegan; it does not include any animal-based materials. In this way, it’s analogous to many synthetic leathers.
However, Toyota reports that SofTex® is superior to standard synthetic “vegan leather” in its environmental impact. SofTex® generates around 85% fewer CO2 emissions and 99% fewer Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in its production process than conventional synthetic leather does.
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What is Toyota SofTex®?
Toyota SofTex® is a special leather-esque material developed by Toyota. Though it looks and feels like traditional leather, it’s designed to be superior in terms of wear, ease of cleaning, and spill resistance. As the name suggests, the material is soft to the touch. It weighs about half as much as real leather.
While real leather absorbs UV rays, creating a hot surface and retaining heat from the sun, SofTex® keeps cool thanks to its highly breathable materials. It also features a special coating to reflect UV rays and absorb less heat.
As a whole, Toyota SofTex® is a durable, attractive environmentally- and animal-friendly alternative to standard leather and synthetic leather seat materials.
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Is normal synthetic leather bad for the environment?
Some argue that because standard synthetic leather contains plastic and is usually manufactured from fossil fuels, it’s worse for the environment than cow leather. While some sources say that cow leather is worse for the environment than synthetic (we won’t make a final judgement on this debate here), the critiques of synthetic are valid, and such artificial leathers do tend to take a long time to break down once they reach the end of their usage period. Toyota hopes its SofTex® will be a step better than typical synthetic leather in terms of environmental impact.