Materials that normally end up in the landfill are the starting point of our design process. We don't start with 'What could we make?', we start with 'what is the waste stream that needs attention and raising awareness?'
ABOUT RECYCLED LEATHER
The world’s leather industry creates enormous amounts of waste. It is estimated, that at least 40% of every hide is usually discarded. A large proportion of this wastage happens at tanneries whether hides are treated. The leather we use at BEEN London is a waste product of the so-called ‘blue-wet’ stage of leather processing, before it gets dyed and treated.
Clean waste trimmings are milled into a powder and are then pressed onto a fabric core using just high pressure water. No chemicals or rubber is needed to keep the material together. Our supplier uses a closed loop system to recycle 95% of the water and converts its own waste streams into energy which is fed back into the process.
ABOUT RECYCLED POLYESTER
Plastic, while being a very useful material is one of the biggest pollutants of the environment and our oceans. The bad news is that people are using more and more plastic every day. The good news is that the material is relatively easy to recycle.
Single use plastic bottles are collected, cleaned, shredded and are then molten to create really thin yarn which can be woven into great high-quality fabrics. We would never use recycled polyester (aka rPET) to make clothes. Shorter fibers are so small that during machine washing they go through the most sophisticated filters and add to the already dangerously high levels of microplastics pollution of rivers and oceans. But as leather bags aren’t meant for a machine wash, we use fabric made out of recycled plastic bottles for the lining and zip tapes of our bags. The material has significantly lower carbon footprint compared to virgin polyester, it reduces both the need for virgin materials and waste, and is fully recyclable at the end of its life.