When you think of sustainable building materials, leather is probably not the first textile that comes to your mind. Think again!
Designer Inghua Ting has found a way to upcycle discarded men’s belts into unique leather floor tiles. Ting owns a London and Los Angeles-based design company of the same name, TING, that produces luxury products to sustainable, ethical principles. The studio’s goal is to provide customers with high quality products made from salvaged materials.
Each belt is hand selected to ensure a high grade of leather and then stripped of their metals, hand cleaned with chemical free substances and prepared for use. The variety of vintage belts creates one of a kind color palettes and patterns, so no two tiles are the same.
The belts are arranged into 12 and 18 inch square tiles. Flooring starts at $80 per square foot, but costs vary depending on color and specification. TING’s leather flooring is easy to clean and maintain. The tiles can be swept and then cleaned using a damp cloth or mop. Over time, the leather will take on a natural patina based on wear.
Other than the fact that these floor tiles are made from reclaimed belts, what makes them green? While the leather isn't cheap, it is certainly long-lived. Natural leather that comes from animal skins is also technically biodegradable.
TING is determined to create the most eco-friendly product possible and wants to do more than just upcycling. Here are a few ways TING has adopted green practices:
- TING searches out existing materials to create the leather tiles. The studio never uses newly purchased belts.
- A water based adhesive is used to bond the individual belts to tile backing made out of reconstituted leather backing.
- If a customer no longer wants their tiles, TING will gladly take the tiles back and recycle them into another product.
- TING makes every effort to produce locally where possible. The studio possesses a highly skilled team in the United Kingdom for European distribution and in Los Angeles for US distribution.
So, what do you think Crisp Green readers -- Are these leather floor tiles just a novelty product? Or are they a sustainable flooring solution? Share your thoughts in a comment!