Is Leather Recyclable?

You probably have leather products like jackets, shoes, belts, and costumes just hanging around in the house or your closet. Maybe you’re looking forward to recycling them or repurposing them into more useful stuff. But is leather recyclable?

Leather products have a pretty good potential to be repurposed and reused for different stuff. Recycled or bonded leather is more affordable than genuine counterparts. They are made from shredded leather residues and recycled leather products. They’re also quite durable.

In this article, we’re going to talk about how you can recycle leather, make DIY products from it, or donate them for good. We’re also going to discuss whether buying recycled leather products is worth it because of the quality and longevity issues.

What Means Recycled Leather?

Generally, recycled leathers are less expensive than their traditional leather counterparts. They are mainly a composition of shredded leather residues that remains after tanning and other leather refining process.

The leather refining process is a vast amount of work involving water, chemicals, and toxic materials. In addition, shredded leather can contaminate the area and create a harmful poisonous gas because of any incorrect disposal process.

One way of using the shredded leathers is to recycle them through resin treatment and glue them together to produce different products. The finished product will almost feel like non-recycled original leather if the process is done correctly.

How To Recycle Leather

If you have a leather product that has run through its course, you might think about disposing of it entirely.

However, one of the great things about a leather product is that it can be recycled and repurposed into different products quite easily. Moreover, you don’t even need advanced tools or machinery to pull it off most of the time.

Here are some of the ways you can easily recycle your favorite leather goodies into something usable.

1.     Repair Your Worn Out Leather Products

One of the first things you should consider before repurposing your favorite leather jacket or suit is whether you can repair it or not. If your product has discoloration, tears, or stains in them, it might be cost-effective just to fix them in most cases.

With good maintenance and regular washing, leather products last for quite a long while. But if you want to be extra secure, keeping a leather repairing kit handy might help you in the long run. If you possess a decent leather repair kit, most minor scratches, discoloration, and tears can be fixed quickly within a few minutes.

For some reason, if you conclude that the product is beyond repair, you can go for multiple recycling options that are also reasonably easy to pull off.

2.     Repurposing Leather Scraps to Crats Items

Leather scraps are great DIY products to make some crafty items that you can personally use or gift to your loved ones.

There are two types of leather scraps; you need to first organize them according to their use cases. The bigger scraps with clean surfaces are most suitable for making crafty items, whereas the smaller chunks are more suitable for the recycling process.

After you’re done with the categorization, you can make an assortment of small items with the scraps in your hand. It might also be a great way to teach little children how to complete some DIY projects.

The best thing is you don’t need any fancy tools to make them. Some thread, a cutting knife, a pair of scissors, some glue are all you need to make most of the products mentioned here. Some of our recommendations are following:

  • Keychains
  • Rings
  • Bracelets
  • Mouse Pad
  • Coasters
  • Spectacle Case
  • Wallets
  • Earrings

3.     Sell Leather Scraps to Recycle Centers

One of the best things you can do with leather scraps is just to take them to a recycling center and get good money for it. So if you have a lot of leather goods just sitting around your house and you’re looking forward to getting rid of them, selling them to a recycling center for repurposing them is probably the perfect idea.

Many companies are actively looking to buy leather scraps from recycling centers to make different products. Most of the time, they will pay you a decent sum of money for the leftovers.

There is probably a recycling center near you that’ll accept leather goods. Try searching online for such facilities nearby. Alternatively, you can also sell them directly to a company if you happen to be someone with access to too many leather goods.

4.     Donate Worn out Leather Products to a Charity or a Goodwill Store

There are many non-profit organizations out there that will collect your leather goods like footwear or jacket and provide them to those in need. Donating leather items that you don’t have much use for is a great way to find its purpose once again.

There are various leather items like belts, shoes, jackets that may not fit your anymore or you don’t want to wear them anymore. But, as long as they are in good condition, there will always be someone somewhere who’ll make good use of them.

Before you donate some of your goods, please clean them and be sure of their quality so that someone in need can wear them. There are many communities out there that’ll happily accept your donation and distribute them among people all around the world.

One of the best ways to donate is to find a local goodwill store and let them have your goods. There is probably a goodwill store right around the corner in your neighborhood.

Is Recycled Leather Good Quality?

To answer that question, recycled leather can be of outstanding quality if the production process is maintained correctly.

The process of recycling leather involves repurposing leather residues that have been discarded during production. They are shredded into scraps and then blended through resin and catalyzers.

This process has been streamlined a lot in modern days, and the difference between a genuine leather product and a recycled one is quite hard to determine.

Bonded leathers are a special kind of leather material that used genuine leather in a mixture with recycled leather to decrease the overall production cost while maintaining the same premium feel.

Recycled leather is a more affordable and attractive choice for most customers because of its low price point and added benefits.

How Long Does Recycled Leather Last?

Because of the construction process of recycled leather, it will never be as durable or long-lasting as you expect it to be. The duration can vary between two or three years, at best.

Shredded leather scraps are used to make the recycled material, and with prolonged use, it will gradually wear down like any other regular leather product.

Leather pieces that have been bonded together start disintegrating because of the extended use. In addition, things like dirt, dust, and body oil contribute to the eventual breakdown of recycled leather.

Although the good news is that through gentle use and regular cleaning, recycled leather products may last just as long as any other genuine leather products, if not longer.

Final Words

This article talked about how recycled leathers are produced, their use cases, and how you can contribute to the recycling process. Leather is quite a fantastic product as it can be repurposed and reused multiple times during its long life span.

So to answer the question, is leather recyclable? Our answer is a definite yes. Recycled leathers are gaining popularity every day because of the lower price point and broader usage.

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