Innovative leather upcycling is a sustainable and environmentally-friendly approach to reusing leather, reducing waste, and creating unique, high-quality products. World over, individuals and brands are uniting to give this age-old material a new, sustainable lease on life.
Here are some intriguing methods where waste is transformed into leather, diverting it from landfills. Additionally, there's an enterprise crafting new products from previously used leather and offering employment opportunities through upcycling.
BANOFI LEATHER - INDIA
Banofi Leather is created from waste banana crops, founded by Jinali Mody, and developed by Kolkata's Atma Leather. It's an eco-friendly and cruelty-free plant based leather alternative to traditional leather. It aims to protect animals, reduce toxic waste, offer extra income to farmers, and upcycle banana waste, especially since India, the world's leading banana producer, creates 4 tons of waste for every ton of fruit.
Banofi Leather addresses key challenges, including the requirement of 10,000 liters of water for a single leather bag, the annual generation of 80 million tons of banana waste, and the low earnings of over a million banana farmers in India. Moreover, Banofi positively impacts the environment by eliminating toxic wastewater, reducing CO2 emissions by 90%, and significantly upcycling banana waste.
LEAP BY BEYOND LEATHER - DENMARK
Beyond Leather, based in Copenhagen, Denmark, has introduced "Leap," an eco-friendly leather alternative crafted from upcycled apple waste. This innovation not only reduces food waste but provides a sustainable leather substitute. Although derived from apple remnants from cider and juice processes, Leap isn't branded as "Apple Leather" but rather a next-gen sustainable material.
Its texture and appearance closely resemble conventional leather. The entire production of Leap takes just a day, conserving water by 99% and slashing CO2 emissions by about 85%. Beyond Leather prides itself on excluding harmful substances, showcasing its dedication to environmentally conscious practices.
WEARSOS - COSTA RICA
Wearsos, a social enterprise, empowers women in rural Costa Rica by offering them training and income through crafting upcycled products. They've recently collaborated with Southwest Airlines' "Repurpose with Purpose Program," a renowned global sustainability initiative.
This partnership focuses on transforming materials, such as leather aircraft seat coverings, into innovative products. Each year, Southwest Airlines joins hands with organisations like Wearsos to repurpose tons of materials, ensuring they don't end up in landfills. Starting this September, consumers can shop the products online made from upcycled retired airplane seats.
REFASH'S UPCYCLED LEATHER COLLECTION
Refash features a curated collection of upcycled leather products from innovative Indian brands. These products highlight the inherent sustainable beauty of upcycled leather. Explore everything from bags, wallets, and belts to stunning accessories such as earrings, bracelets, and neckpieces, all consciously made from repurposed leather.
The items highlighted below, are picks from a wide collection of upcycled leather products. The vibrant sling bag by Perked is crafted from leftover genuine leather. Noupelle’s quill neckpiece, is created using leather offcuts and resin, and is made-to-order to minimise waste. Meanwhile, House of Ganges presents the Newell Sunglass case, fashioned from upcycled faux leather. Click on the images to shop.
Whether it's for fashion, accessories, or home goods, upcycling leather is not only a commendable practice in both design and sustainability but also a rapidly growing trend in the modern eco-conscious world.