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Upcycling ELV car seat leather

Bag from recycled leather
Turning leather seats from ELVs into designer bags could bring a new outlet for a material currently ending up landfilled or incinerated.

When cars reach the end of their useful lives they drop into a well-established process for disposal. Many of the cars constituent materials are recovered through this process, but other materials are “lost”. Leather seats are a prime example. This is an area you may be able to capitalise on!

Highly prized as a luxurious addition to a new car, leather is very durable and in the case of passenger seats, often hardly used. Yet the material is lost; shredded in a fragmentiser, ending up either land filled or incinerated. But, not any longer.

Seatgear is changing that, taking leather seat covers that have been quickly removed from cars and turning them into a variety of luxurious, high quality and unique bags. “We retain the age-related patina that the material has collected over its lifetime, and as much of the original detailing (piping, seam shapes etc) as we can. This makes every bag totally unique” said Peter Stokes, Seatgear Director. “What we end up with is a high quality, unique product with known provenance. Customers will know exactly which make and model of car their bag is made from. Our customers will also know that they have helped the environment by extending the life of this material”.

As car dismantlers we are ideally placed to harvest this material as it needs the dexterity of a real person to extract the material in a form Seatgear can use. And, with over 2 million cars retiring every year, there should be a good volume of material available to Seatgear to ensure supplies don’t run out.

Seatgear products are handmade right here in the UK. Skilled craftsmen and seamstresses create the bags in a traditional textile mill ‘Up North’, which seems a fitting way to keep making products in Britain.

The products are sold solely on the internet via the Seatgear website. and almost uniquely, the bag you see and buy is the bag you will get.

Looking to the future, Seatgear believe that the dismantlers' unique ability to intercept material before the car is destroyed could yield other “lost” material streams for similar projects watch this space!

For more information, email Seatgear or visit Seatgear's website.

December 2016

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