At my upholstery shop, we try to recycle as much as possible — mostly glass and plastic. I’d like to recycle fabric scraps too, but don’t know any companies that would take such waste.
I know composting isn’t an option when it comes to vinyl, but how about leather? Animal hides are biodegradable, right?
Leather is coated in dyes and other chemicals that protect it. Does that matter? Can I still throw it in my compost bucket?
— Stephen Gonzales, A to Z Upholstery in La Porte, Indiana
That’s an interesting question. We all like to do our part to save the planet, and I admire your thought on the idea of composting.
The truth, though, is that the process of tanning animal skin to make leather is an effort to stop decomposition. Leather is no longer a decomposing part of an animal. It has essentially become something else. (i.e. clothing, belting, etc.)
My suggestion to you is to reach out to your local arts and crafts clubs, schools, church groups, etc. They are usually happy to accept clean scraps of leather to use in various arts and crafts projects.
I hope this helps.
Aaron Laithwaite is founder and CEO of Hydes Leather. To ask him a question about automotive leather, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about Hydes Leather at HydesLeather.com. You can also follow them on Instagram and Facebook.
Edward Munday says
Retired…We had a trimmer who worked for my Dad’s shop back in the early 90’s who saved every little scrap of leather. He would send it to his sister who sewed those scraps together to make pocketbooks for women.
Oliver Reiff says
Been wondering about what to do with scraps for years now… Thought of the art and craft schools…guess I should take some action on this matter… I will call the local public school system and find out what they say… thanks for the article!
Juan O says
Hi Aaron I been wondering what are the different treatment to leather used on leather seats and leather used to do steering wheels.