Mexican Entrepreneurs Turn Cactus Leaves Into Eco-Friendly Leather.

These days, it’s easier than ever to find substitutes for meat and other animal products, including leather!

Grocery stores across the country are stocking plant-based foods to meet the rising demand. Companies are also finding ways to produce more environmentally-friendly and cruelty-free products. For example, Mexican entrepreneurs Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázarez came up with an innovative use for cactus leaves.

adrian and marte

Adrián and Marte used to work in the auto and fashion industries, respectively. Both regularly used leather on the job, which, they learned, is harmful to animals and the environment. Not only does it require huge amounts of water to produce, but it isn’t biodegradable because it’s treated with toxic chemicals.

Concerned, the two men took it upon themselves to create an alternative. They quit their jobs, started the company Adriano Di Marti, and spent the next two years researching plant-based materials. Then, they hit the jackpot  — cacti!


In 2019, the duo debuted “Desserto,” vegan leather made from Nopal cactus leaves. It’s a better solution than faux leather made from plastic, as it’s more eco-friendly. Plus, cacti don’t require much water. What’s more, the process doesn’t even kill the plant! The leather is made by cutting, cleaning, and mashing mature cactus leaves, then leaving them out to dry for three days. After that, the material is mixed with non-toxic chemicals, shaped, and dyed.

cactus leather

The best part? It looks and costs the same as animal leather, but it’s biodegradable, breathable, soft, and lasts for up to 10 years!

cactus leather purse

Adrián and Marte hope to eventually replace all animal leather with theirs and create jobs in the process. Some brands have already started using Desserto to create purses, wallets, and other accessories.

cactus leather wallet

What a brilliant and sustainable solution! Desserto products are sure to make a positive impact on the environment, so we can’t wait to see other brands using it as well!

Learn more about Desserto in the video below, and share to spread the word!

Want more good news?

Sign up for Smile, our free daily good news email with over 600,000 happy and optimistic subscribers!

You share, we give!
Every time you share an article, we donate to Smile Train to provide life-changing cleft surgeries to children in need.

$17.64 raised today! Learn more here.

Share to Give!

Every time you share an article, we donate to Smile Train to help provide life-changing cleft surgeries to children in need. Spread good news, change lives! Learn more here.

$17.64 raised today!

Want to be happier in just 5 minutes a day? Sign up for Morning Smile and join over 455,000+ people who start each day with good news.