Upcycling leather scraps from industrial gloves

800,000 tons of leather waste (1) from leather goods manufacturing each year.

Out of these 800,000 tons, will go to the landfill.

This figure shows that even before looking for solutions for unsold goods, it is urgent to reduce the waste associated with the production of leather goods. 

Let’s look at the specific example of leather gloves. All the cuttings  necessary for the creation of a pair of gloves produce a lot of waste and to give a second life to the waste, we went to the (e-)meeting of Recyc’Leather.

The two Recyc’Leather co-founders identified leather scraps as potentially valuable waste a long time ago, When they lived in China.

Thus, almost from their window, they saw huge quantities of homogenous material of different qualities, colors and from different productions. 

It was then necessary to find a new process to create a material in order in produce functionals objects, while remaining in the reasonable environnemental impact !

And… It is by combining all their past experiences in the paper industry that the solution was found! we tell you everything in this interview…

Recyc’Leather grinds leather scraps into powder and produces panels ready to be printed like paper. This leather is made from : 

60% Leather fibres (scrap leather)

30% Natural latex (HEVEA tree) (2)

10% Water-based  Polyurethane (solvent-free) – the most innovative at the moment 

Thus, no chrome tanning but a hot printing (3) as on cardboard or paper.

Photo credit : Recyc’Leather

Choosing Recyc’Leather, means 90% less water used compared to a genuine new chrome-tanned leather, and saved 20 tons of waste from the landfill!

Photo credit : Recyc’Leather

Recyc’Leather already has several customers among famous brands : they are real partners with common values in the global environmental approach.

This material seems to be a nice alternative to PVC and PU as it can also be used in the world of home design, and for secondary and primary packaging. This material is also as genuine soft as leather.

For brands, It is possible to develop a mold and the different grains are co-developed and can be exclusive.

Most pantone references color are available.

Main customers : The luxury industry (watches, glasses, perfume and beauty)

The production is located in the province of Guangzhou where all the raw materials come from. The panels are either processet on site or delivered in Asia region for manufacturing.

Photo credit : Recyc’Leather

Recyc’Leather, participates in the “United Nations Sustainable Development Goals- Goal 12: Sustainable Consumption and production” – But not that ! They also created a brand of accessories : FRBG francsbourgeois.eu

Photo credit : Recyc’Leather

For your own collection, Recyc’Leather can offer card holders, glasses cases, document holders, phone cases. Check out the INE Paris brand, which develops card holders and battery charger  http://ineparis.fr/

For future innovation , Recyc’Leather establishes partnerships with for example the CTC (leather Technical center) or with groups of students to optimize the material on performance, especially resistance. The company will also perform a LCA (4) of the material compared to 1m2 of animal leather chrome. Recyc’Leather is also participating in a study conducted by IFM and kering, including the topic of ” Sustainability meets luxury packaging”. 

Photo credit : Recyc’Leather

Vocabulary and Sources :

  • (1) Production off- cuts : Waste obtained when cutting and manufacturing a product.
  • (2)The HEVEA tree is a tree that produces the rubber that Recyc’Leather mixes with synthetic resin. Recyc’leather uses tree rubber that comes from Thailand.  Sources Wikipédia
  • (3) Hot printing : Hot stamping, sometimes called embossing, is a printing technique consisting of marking the paper in its thickness with a color, or even gold and silver. Sources : Escourbiac
  • (4) LCA : Life cycle analysis 
  • Sources : https://silmonext.silmoparis.com/?page_id=95

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