Is Leather Recyclable? (Plus Helpful Tips!)

Around the world, waste generation rates have risen with over 2.01 billion tons of solid waste produced every year. Nearly 402,000 tons of the 2.01 billion tons of trash is leather. This then raises the question if the leather is recyclable so as to reduce the percentage of leather waste. I did the research and here’s all I found.

So, is leather recyclable? Yes, leather is recyclable in the sense that scraps of leather can be collected from tanneries and leather items manufacturers and then used for useful items rather than the leather scraps ending up in landfills. Also, leather from old items can be repurposed into the making of new things.

For example, leather from an old upholstery item can be removed and used to make new items like wallets, keychains, etc.

Basically, when we talk if recycling leather we refer to these two categories of leather that is the scraps of leather from old leather goods or scraps from leather goods manufacturers or tanneries.

Recycling or repurposing leather is a very environmentally friendly way to go.

It has become popular among people with the growing consciousness of people making efforts to save the environment by opting to use products made of recycled materials.

You will find that in recent years businesses have also made it part of their strategy to appeal to people who have the consciousness of making a difference in the environment.

While some corporations are cashing in on selling recycled leather goods, others seem to be reluctant to invest in it and in all fairness I’d like to add that it’s due to consumer perceptions on the quality of recycled goods. Others may not be paying attention to producing recycled leather goods because of the lack of the right technical know-how.

As individuals, recycling or repurposing leather shouldn’t be too difficult. Below, I have highlighted ways you can recycle old leather scraps or leather goods to help reduce the number of leather pollutants in the environment.

How to Recycle Leather

Leather can be recycled in various different ways. The great thing about recycling leather is that in many cases, it doesn’t require any advanced tools or machines. Here’s how you can recycle leather with very simple to no tools.

1. Repair Worn out Leather Items

The first line of defense in recycling leather items is to repair your leather items before they completely become damaged.

If you happen to see discoloration, stains, tear or peels on your leather item it is best to repair as soon as you can than throwing it out.

With regular care and maintenance, leather items last long. You will need to have a very good but less costly leather repair kit you can readily use to make quick repairs.

In the case where the repair requires an expert, do well to give one a call and schedule to either take the leather item to them or inviting them over to check it out in your home if the leather item is huge like a couch.

But in most cases you should be able to fix it yourself following the instructions in the leather repair kit.

If you’re interested, you can check out this leather repair kit on Amazon. You can look around to find what other options are there for you.

With one good leather repair kit you should be able to make any type of repair on your leather items in quick easy steps.

However, if your leather item is beyond repair, you can then repurpose it into another item you can use.

Watch videos on how to repair a leather item

2. Repurpose Leather to Crafts Items

By recycling leather, you can develop a new hobby or career. You can take apart an old leather item and use the leather to make new leather items.

You can take on projects like earrings, guitar picker cases, spectacle cases, cardholders, coasters, wallets. The list goes on and on and you will surely find a use for every single piece of leather you get off the old item.

All you will need is basic tools like a pair of scissors, cutting knife, glue, thread (polyester thread) and you are good to go.

This is certainly a project you can do with your kids, spouse or even friends at home and it’s surely something to bond over. The items you create will become part of your family or friendship for a really long time.

While this will save you some money, it will ultimately go a long way to help preserve the environment and you would have contributed your widows might.

However, if you will not find the time to repurpose the leather item into a craft item then you can donate it to goodwill or a charity.

Watch a video on how you can recycle your leather with simple craft ideas

3. Donate Leather Goods to Charity or a Goodwill Store

Giving back to society in any shape or form is a great way to find a use for the leather items you don’t immediately have use for or simply just doesn’t fulfill the purpose for which you bought it anymore.

Leather items like shoes that don’t fit, or bags, belts, garments that just don’t fit in your wardrobe can be given out. As long as they are in good condition, you can definitely donate them to goodwill and you will be surprised how useful it will be for someone somewhere.

You can simply go on google and search for “goodwill store near me”. You can call first to confirm the details on how to donate and your donation will be greatly appreciated.

4. Take it to a Craft thrift Store

If you feel you cannot donate your leather items due to personal reasons or better yet you find a craft store in your locality and you feel they will be able to put it to good use while you earn some money for your family, you can go for it.

There are a lot of thrift stores that donate whatever they accumulate in their thrift stores to charity. The craft thrift store is definitely a great place to take your leather items.

5. Take Scraps to Recycle Centers

If you happen to be a leatherworker or happen to have scraps of leather lying around your workshop or home, you can take the scrap to a recycling center to be resold to others for many purposes.

Some Industrial companies may also buy scraps from recycling centers and use scraps to produce different products.

You can first start by calling the specific recycling center near you to find what they accept and what they don’t and how you’d have to clean and package them before taking it to the center.

By doing a few of these activities, you sure will help to reduce the number of reusable items that would have simply gone into a landfill and the environment will be thankful to you.


Hi! I’m Kwabena, the owner and founder of Favored Leather. I’m a huge Leathercraft enthusiast and I’ve been that for almost 13 years now. I'm excited to share my experiences and all the new stuff I learn each day about leather craft, leather cleaning & care, and everything in-between!

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