How to Recycle Leather

Have you ever tried to figure out how to recycle leather? Your fringed leather jacket from 1986 used to be so fashionable, but now it's time to make some room in your closet. You don't want to throw it in the garbage (so many memories!) but can it be recycled?

Unfortunately there's no specific leather recycling bin for community pickup. Unlike glass and plastic, it isn't possible to melt leather down and make a new leather coat or bag. Your best bet when trying to recycle leather is to find another use for your old leather goods. For example, if it's something you'd like to keep (like a motorcycle jacket), but it has a tear, take it to be fixed. A store that sells leather goods may be able to help you with this. Another option is to get a do-it-yourself repair kit for leather. This works especially well on car seats and couches.

If leather clothes, bags or shoes are in wearable condition but you're done with them, consider donating them. Goodwill and Salvation Army are always accepting donations for used clothing, bags  and shoes. They'll also accept furniture, like couches and recliners. Soles 4 Souls is a nonprofit organization which collects used shoes and gives them to those in need. You can learn how to get your used leather shoes to them at www.solesforsouls.org. Keep in mind that donating your old leather goods will be a tax write-off come April.

If your leather goods are beyond repair or are un-wearable, they'll have to be thrown away. Even goods labeled "recycled leather" are made from leftover scraps when the product was being made; not from old Coach handbags.

Still, some companies are doing everything they can to make the most out of old leather. Flooring made from recycled leather is starting to make an appearance. Hopefully this will become a popular flooring option and leather will be able to find yet another use.

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