Leather is wonderful! But it has a reputation for being both bad and good as far as sustainability goes. Some of its bad rep has to do with how it is produced. But once leather is here it has the opportunity of sticking around long enough to be considered sustainable, if reused responsibly. Let’s look at it!
First, let’s get the bad stuff out of the way.
Leather: The Downside:
- Environmental impact: Sometimes the production of leather requires the clearing of land and the use of lots of water for the process,, which can contribute to local deforestation and the scarcity of water in the area where the leather is being processed.
- Chemical use: The process of tanning leather involves the use of chemicals like chromium, which can be toxic and can pollute the air and water near where the leather is being processed.
- Animal welfare: Even though leather is a byproduct of the meat industry, it is important to consider the welfare of the animals used for meat production.
Leather: The Upside
- Byproduct of Meat: Leather is a byproduct of the meat industry: So regardless of the level of demand for leather goods, leather will still be produced as a result of the meat industry.
- Durability: Leather is a strong and long-lasting material, which means that products made from leather can have a longer lifespan than those made from other materials. This reduces the need for frequent replacements and contributes to sustainability.
- Ability to be Reused: Because it is so durable and long-lasting leather items can be repurposed and the leather reused in many other ways once the original leather item has outlived its usefulness.
- Aesthetics: Leather has a unique and attractive appearance that can add character to products, making them look and feel special.
- Intrinsic value: There is no getting around the fact that leather comes from an animal. I think there is a special feeling about items made from leather, that originates from the innate value that it possesses having come from a living animal.
We honor the animal the leather came from and the artistry of the original designer when we make it our business to repurpose items that are made of leather into other useable items thereby giving the leather a third life.