The Toray Group’s expertise is in organic synthetic and polymer chemistry as well as in biochemistry. In addition to plastics and chemicals, their core businesses are fibers and textiles. Although their petroleum-based Ultrasuede® fabric itself is very likely more sustainable than bovine leather, MII highlights their commitment to lessening the use of non-renewable resources. By incorporating plant-based materials into their Ultrasuede line, Toray has taken a step toward more sustainability. Their Ultrasuede® HP alternative leather is profiled here.
Since its debut in 1970, Toray has continued to improve and innovate Ultrasuede®, including the introduction of Ultrasuede® HP, used in furniture, automobile upholstery, and fashion. Ultrasuede HP has been further upgraded to use recycling technology, and the newest generation is made using partially plant-based polymers.
Production process: Mechanical/Chemical
Toray’s proprietary technology bundles ultra-fine petroleum-based fibers with plant-based polymers and strengthens the resulting material with polymer binders. The material is further processed and dyed to create Ultrasuede HP.
The plant-based polymers used in Ultrasuede HP are made from agricultural plant wastes. Replacing some of the petroleum-based fibers with plant-based fibers means that Ultrasuede HP is likely a more sustainable material than leather alternatives made entirely from virgin petroleum products.
ULTRASUEDE HP SPECIFICATIONS
Width: 55” / 1,420mm
Put-up: 33 yard / 30m R.O.T.
Weight: Approx. 11.1 oz. per sq. yard / 375g per sq. meter
Fiber Fineness: 0.19 denier
Composition: 49% Polyester Ultra-Fine Fiber (30% plant-based); 31% Polyester Woven Scrim; 20% Polyurethane
FURNITURE, AUTOMOTIVE, FASHION, ACCESSORIES, FOOTWEAR
Ultrasuede HP combines the look and feel of fine suede with performance and durability for applications in furniture and automotive interiors, as well as fashion, accessories, and footwear.