Leather as a sustainable resource for car seating

Leather is a sustainable resource for car seating

We, as people, have become more aware of our environmental footprint through the years. The global consumption of our resources has edged us closer to a point where depletion of our planet’s resources is a tangible risk and we look towards alternatives in order to stem the tide. Leather has a part to play in that.

When we look at car interiors, we have a number of options regarding material choices. Either, we continue down the same road of resourcing our limited raw materials or choose renewable options like the leather we produce from the meat industry. Leather is one of those materials we can keep using, as it has a long lifetime. It’s available in abundance, making it almost a waste not to use it. This makes the case for leather as strong as ever.

Upcycling hides to lower waste


Animals are grown for their meat, which you can read more about in our article on leather as a by-product. It is important to mention that the demand for leather does not affect in any way the number of animals slaughtered. Currently, the increased global consumption of meat means that an increasing number of hides are being produced. Although meat consumption is growing, leather demand is failing as a general opinion favors alternatives. And this, in fact, is worrying.

If we don’t convert hides and skins to leather, we will create an immense amount of waste on a yearly basis. This waste pile would be of a size equal to 750 times the Eifel Tower. Upcycling hides into leather is not only appropriate to use of a renewable resource of which we have so much available, it also reduces a waste pile for which we have little alternative solutions except landfill or incineration. 

Leather matches the lifetime of a car


As customers we want our automotive interiors to look good and to last as long as the car does without splitting, or cracking. The unique properties of leather make it possible that the seating and trim will last significantly longer than competing materials. This has a lot to do with its natural functional properties. This product longevity is a major credential for the sustainability of leather, as it almost never needs to be replaced. Over the lifetime of a car, the overall carbon footprint of a single set of leather seats will be lower than the carbon footprint of several sets of seats made from other materials.

Less cleaning, smaller footprint


Though there are many cleaning and care products available for your car interior, the leather material used in your car is in itself resistant to most forms of dirt and staining. Washing or treatment is rarely actually needed and cleaning the seats with a damp cloth is often enough. Leather can, after a while, benefit from deep cleaning, but the full cycle of dry-cleaning and removing seat covers never needs to happen during normal use. This lowers the carbon footprint of the in-use product, as less water, cleaning agents, and energy is needed to keep the leather in pristine condition. On the other hand, the cleaning that does take place replenishes the material, where for others it gradually makes them lose their plasticizers. This is followed by cracking or other damage and eventually their replacement with new upholstery.

The fact that leather reduces the global waste pile has a longer product life than most alternatives, and requires little maintenance makes it one of the sustainable choices of our time. Find out how leather is also the most.