About recycled leather:
The world’s leather industry creates enormous amounts of waste. It is estimated, that around 25% of every hide goes to landfill (even before it reaches manufacturers). A large proportion of this wastage happens at tanneries whether hides are treated. The leather we use at BEEN 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 recycling plastic bottles into fabric:
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. More on its impact for oceans here. 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.