21/12/2021 – As good as traditional leather
Retired scientists create recycled leather process
Two Pennsylvania scientists have developed a proprietary process that turns discarded leather scraps into a product called Enspire Leather.
Multiple leather substitutes have been introduced over the years, but none of them have come close to reproducing the attributes of the real thing. Now, after over five years and $3 million in R&D, two Pennsylvania scientists who founded Sustainable Composites have developed a proprietary process that turns discarded leather scraps into a product called Enspire Leather (the “e” is for “environmental”) that not only replicates the look, feel, smell and performance of tanned hide at half the cost but also dramatically reduces waste.
Ordinarily, 25–60% of the leather produced in the tanning process winds up on the cutting room floor because of defects and the limited dimensions of tanned hides. That means an estimated 3.5 billion pounds of leather scraps get sent to landfills or incinerators every year.
Tom Tymon and Frank Fox created a way to reclaim and process those discarded scraps by grinding them up and pressing them into sheets made from 100% leather fibers.
- Sustainability achieved by rescuing leather scraps from product waste streams
- Leather-like pliability, durability, sew-ability, abrasion and stain resistance, and fold properties
- Reduced cutting waste with uniform 54” rolls free of holes and other defects, helping maximize yield utilization
- 40–60% material cost reductions for end-product manufacturers, including footwear, clothing, small leather goods, furniture and automotive companies
- Virtually unlimited design options of color, texture and finish for products previously crafted from traditional leather
One of the first companies to embrace the company’s new leather alternative is Timberland, which is incorporating enspire leather into select products as part of its commitment to environmentally responsible product development.
New application of fiber technology
Sustainable Composites LLC has developed a patented, totally unique, technically advanced material made from leather waste which changes the environmental landscape for leather products. It is a new application of fiber technology, using only leather fiber derived from waste leather, to produce a responsible product with the attributes only previously available with traditional leather.
Due to its composition and patented forming procedures, Enspire Leather is further unique in that it can be finished precisely the same as traditional leather. That means that finishes ranging from the highly durable finishes used in the transportation and furniture industries to the luxurious finishes in fashion accessories, and small leather goods are all achievable with enspire leather.
Because it is produced in uniform continuous rolls, and often when finished in rectangular uniform “hides,” it dramatically increases the yields article manufacturers achieve compared to traditional leather.
The founders of Sustainable Composites LLC (SCL), Frank Fox and Tom Tymon, are Scientists and Engineers who have had careers in the materials industry in R&D, production, management, and executive positions.