Matt & Nat's stylish and minimalist handbags were created in 1995 in the heart of Montreal. The brand makes vegan handbags for young and old. How sustainable are the vegan handbags?
The Canadian brand experiments with different kinds of materials, including nylon, cardboard, rubber and cork. The vegan handbags are mainly made of polyurethane (PU), a type of plastic. Although the brand claims on its website that it is biodegradable, it is absolutely not. Plastic will leave microplastics in the environment once it is discarded. What has to be said is that PU is more environmentally friendly than the formerly widely used polyvinyl chloride (PVC). But PU is far from environmentally friendly, for the production of this vegan leather many harmful chemicals and large amounts of water are still needed.
At COSH, we are less of a fan of artificial materials, as their production requires fossil fuels, which send greenhouse gases into the air. But if a brand chooses to use artificial materials, we recommend recycled materials. Good news! The lining of the handbags, briefcases, wallets and toilet bags at Matt & Nat is made of 100% recycled nylon. Every year the brand calculates that they recover 9 million plastic bottles from the waste mountain.
The brand also experiments with leather from fruit peels. COSH investigated that with many vegan leather made from fruit, a large part of plastic was added, which made recycling difficult. All in all, we are not so much a fan of the vegan leather in Matt & Nat's handbags, but we do like the lining of recycled plastic.
The CEO of Matt & Nat visits the factories where the handbags are made 3 times a year. Twice a year audits are performed to guarantee that no child labour is used and that wages are fair. The factories work under the SA800 standard which guarantees good working conditions. At COSH! We are still not entirely clear on where exactly these factories are located, so we will ask further.
Although the brand does not use animal ingredients such as animal skins, the handbags are not entirely animal friendly. Once the plastic ends up in the trash, it ends up in the food of the animals. Although vegan leather is supposed to be 'animal friendly', it can also be harmful to life on land and in the water.
Although we at COSH are no fans of artificial materials, we do support the innovative Matt & Nat in their future steps as a sustainable handbag brand. Are you curious too? You can buy a vegan handbag yourself at the following outlets.