When I see a leather couch in the trash, I imagine taking all the leather off and reusing it into lots of projects. That was the inspiration for today’s episode so maybe next time, I will actually go for it.
As you likely know, leather has a lot of environmental impacts. Cows product a lot of carbon emissions, waste and use a lot of water. The chemicals used to tan the leather are noxious. The tanned leather cannot bio-degrade. So creative reuse of leather is the way to go!
There are also inventors and entrepreneurs producing vegan leather made from inner tubes, fire hoses and even growing it from cacti or mushrooms!
You can listen to my podcast episode on the creative reuse of leather from September 2020 in this YouTube video:
Reusing Leather Scraps
Since leather is made from animal skin, it has imperfections that become leather scraps. Also, when people sew items from leather using a pattern, the extra bits become scraps.
Elvis and Kresse is a company in the United Kingdom that makes bags and rugs from recycled materials, including leather scraps. The company started when the founders learned that all the damaged, decommissioned fire houses in London were going to landfill. They were difficult to recycle because they were made from a composite material, meaning they were not all rubber. They wanted to reuse this material because it had been involved in so many heroic deeds.
Reusing Leather Belts
Danny Seo teaches how to make bottle labels from recycled belts:
Reusing Leather Gloves
Bunnie Reiss takes it to the next level with her Cosmic Animal Gloves:
Reusing Cowboy Boots
People cut the soles off of cowboy boots and sew them back-to-back to make purses, or use a single boot to make a wine tote.
Reusing Leather Labels on Denim Jeans
Made or Remade sews thimbles from the leather labels on jeans:
Other artists sew rugs from hundreds of leather labels:
Reusing Leather Jackets and Pants / Trousers
Hildur2John makes beautiful throw pillow, tassels and ornaments from recycled leather and suede jackets:
Aly Ashton makes bags from sentimental leather clothing, including in some cases, motorcycle racing suits that saved a rider’s life.
Leather Alternatives or Vegan Leather
Some artists use recycled inner tubes as a replacement for leather – check out episode 67 about this.
Craft Projects from Salvaged Leather