On Earth Day 2021, The Leather and Hide Council of America, responsible for almost half the worldwide trade in hides, set out an ambitious goal to reduce waste by using every hide from the dairy and meat industry but to expand its traceability program developed with non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
The U.S. leather industry already uses 83% of the hides from dairy and meat – some 27.5 million hides per year – but has now committed to ensuring that the remaining 17% (5.5 million) are no longer incinerated or sent to landfill but used for clothing, shoes, furniture and automobile interiors. This will save an estimated 137,500 tons of waste every year whilst reducing carbon emissions from landfill by 120,000 tons of CO2 equivalents.
By targeting zero hide waste and providing a hard-wearing material that can last a lifetime, LHCA aims to advance the fight against fast fashion, which currently accounts for an estimated 8-10% of the world’s carbon emissions, and promote ‘slow style’.
Stephen Sothmann (pictured), President, The Leather and Hide Council of America said, “We want to reverse the wasteful cycle of ‘buy, wear, dispose’ by promoting sustainably sourced U.S leather as a natural, ‘slow’ style alternative. Earth Day is an opportunity to remind people of how far we have come as an industry and to underline our ongoing commitment to sustainable, responsible leather production.”
LHCA is working on a number of initiatives that will help buyers and consumers make more responsible choices. To give buyers confidence in the sourcing of their leather, it will be expanding its domestic traceability program that allows buyers to trace U.S. hides. LHCA is also stepping up its global campaign Real Leather. Stay Different. to help consumers make more informed decisions about the products they buy.
Read the press release:
The Leather and Hide Council of America Makes Earth Day Pledge
 Hides are natural products and vary in weight. The average is 25kg. Based on this, 5.5 million hides is approximately 173,500 metric tons of wasted hides. LHCA conservatively uses the US Environmental Protection Agency CO2 equivalent of emissions from food waste which is 0.88.