Designer’s Muse: Muirhead Leather

Can leather be sustainable? We think YES!

We visited BCFA OPEN exhibitor Andrew Muirhead & Son to find out a bit more about leather production and how it can be a sustainable process. We were given a tour by MD Colin Wade of their factory in Glasgow where they have been manufacturing leather for over 145 years.

Colin explained to us, “the first thing you have got to understand about leather, is that it is a by-product of the meat industry, so if we did not process in into a usable product it would be sent to landfill”.

He then went on to explain that when a raw hide enters the factory it weighs 36kg and the end product is 4.5kg so there is a lot of by-product again which they use in a mixture of ways, such as the fats being sent to a 7 million pound thermal energy plant offsite to be processed in bio fuel, or being used in sausage casing with any remainder waste being gasified to steam power, one of their sister companies. Which means in the end from a by-product they create pretty damn close to no waste.

Has this changed your views on the leather industry? Tell us your comments in the comments below.

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About Alys Bryan

Alys is a knowledgeable design editor who is focused on instigating conversations, both online and in-person, with industry experts which challenge, educate and advance the commercial interior sector. Her training and 15 years of professional experience as a furniture designer for the commercial sector makes her uniquely placed to lead Design Insider as Editor
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