Human Interest

The Mile High Recycling Club


Southwest Airlines has accomplished an Eco-friendly double-whammy.  To start, they recently redesigned their 737 seats using E-leather material.  E-leather is a lighter composite made from scrap remains of the leather industry.  Its use shaves 600lbs from the planes weight, according to CNN, which ultimately reduces fuel consumption for every flight.  Not satisfied with that environmentally helpful improvement, Southwest donated the tons and tons of old leather to NGO’s operating in Africa rather than trash the lot.  One groups, SOS Children’s Villages Kenya,  apprentice orphans in craftsmanship positions.  They are transforming the material into soccer balls and shoes.  Their creations are then distributed through other organization to those in need.

Southwest Airlines recently launched Luv Seat, an upcycling initiative that aims to repurpose 80,000 used leather seat covers. Rather than simply donating the materials, Southwest has partnered with NGOs in Africa that will use them to provide job training and health education.

(From seat to soccer ball. Image Credit: Southwest Airlines)

Not too shabby for old leather!  Other airlines have also pursued recycling and re-purposing old plane components including Delta, FinnAir, and Air France.

Read more at CNN.

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