The differences between water-based chemicals and plant-based chemicals
May 1, 2023
Jane Smith, Managing Director
Water Based v Plant Based Chemicals
When it comes to choosing products for your leather care, it's important to consider the types of chemicals that are being used. While some chemicals can be harmful to humans and the environment, others are safer and more sustainable. Two categories of chemicals that are often compared are water-based chemicals and plant-based chemicals.
Water-based chemicals are chemicals that are dissolved in water. They can be used in a variety of products, from cleaners to paints to adhesives. The advantage of water-based chemicals is that they are typically less toxic than other types of chemicals, such as solvents. They also tend to have a lower volatile organic compound (VOC) content or fully VOC free, which means they release fewer harmful pollutants into the air or zero if they are VOC free.
However, water-based chemicals are still chemicals, and they can still have negative effects on the environment. For example, some water-based chemicals can contribute to water pollution if they are not properly disposed of. Additionally, some people may be sensitive to certain water-based chemicals, leading to allergic reactions or other health issues. Then you have the issues if the products have not been formulated correctly and contain VOC products.
Plant-based chemicals, on the other hand, are chemicals that are derived from plants. These can include essential oils, plant extracts, and other natural compounds. Plant-based chemicals are often used in cleaning products, cosmetics, and fragrances. The advantage of plant-based chemicals is that they are often less toxic than synthetic chemicals, and they are more sustainable.
Because plant-based chemicals are derived from natural sources, they tend to be biodegradable and less harmful to the environment. They also often have natural antibacterial and antifungal properties, which can make them effective in cleaning and disinfecting products. However, it's worth noting that not all plant-based chemicals are created equal. Some plants can be toxic, and some plant-based chemicals can be irritating to the skin or lungs.
The other major issues plant based brings, is the impact on the environment, because they are plant based, this brings even greater risks to our planet with farming such plant-based products, increased fumes into the air causing even great pollution that traditional water-based products. Some plant-based products cause more greenhouses gases than fossil fuel factories.
The farming and cultivation of plant-based products is devastating our planet faster than traditional water-based products as the worlds losing its natural gases. D’limonene (extracted from citrus fruits) is quite harmful to the environment, Coconut oil and Palm oils are used for producing many detergents (especially in cosmetics) but we have all seen the devastating effects on the environment from the huge plantations used to produce these oils. Basically, plant based does not necessarily mean better. You have also got to think about the ‘carbon miles’ transporting the oil to be processed and then shipped all over the world.
Palm oil is one of the most used products in plant-based products, take a read about the impact they have on our planet from WWF. Then you have monohydrochloride products within plant-based products which basically are amino acids, which can have impacts on our own health, gastrointestinal distress, such as bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, increased risk of gout (build-up of uric acid in the body, leading to joint inflammation), unhealthy drop in blood pressure, changes in eating patterns, need for your kidneys to work harder to maintain balance.
When choosing between water-based chemicals and plant-based chemicals, it's important to consider the specific product and the ingredients that are being used. Additionally, be sure to follow proper disposal guidelines for any chemicals that you use in your home.
In summary, both water-based chemicals and plant-based chemicals have their advantages and disadvantages. Water-based chemicals tend to be less toxic than other types of chemicals. Plant-based chemicals are often more sustainable and less toxic, but not all plant-based chemicals are created equal, the impact deforestation has on our planet is devastating natures wildlife and increasing greenhouse gases. Ultimately, the best choice will depend on the specific product and your personal preferences.