Recycling leather from bespoke saddles

Every year, our workshops in Saintes, Charente Maritime, produce more than 4,200 bespoke Antarès saddles. The leather used is French-sourced for its quality and short supply chain but it is also a living and noble material. We must use it responsibly while reducing our environmental impact. While our saddle-makers strive to use every last scrap of leather, some wastage is inevitable. As a result, our CSR (corporate social responsibility) policy sets out possible solutions in our working patterns to help address current sustainable development-related challenges. That’s why, for several years now, we have been transforming leftover leather from our tailormade saddles into unique and outstanding products.

Why is our approach environmentally-friendly?

Being natural and biodegradable, leather is an ecological material but that isn’t enough. If hides are sourced from the livestock industry they can have a large carbon footprint. That’s why we’ve opted to work with leather sourced from the food sector. This means that no animal has been killed specifically for its hide and our policy is to recycle this ‘noble waste’

As such, we’ve engaged a product designer to lead our leather recycling venture. Their role is to design and create products from leather scraps and offcuts resulting in our range of leather goods.

Our teams are also working on other projects jointly developed with local businesses such as oyster farmers, to provide them with basic products (gloves or other hand protection items) for their activities designed from our leather offcuts. Involving local businesses in this environmentally-responsible project fits with our CSR agenda and supports the regional economy.

Finally, our tanner, Arnal, in Rodez, also uses an eco-design approach to reduce the environmental impacts from its hides.

Recycling leather in numbers

Using leather sourced from the food sector accounts for 170,000 tonnes of waste processed each year in France alone, which is the same as 24-times the weight of the Eiffel Tower!

At Antarès, our leather recycling measures help save and repurpose 5,000 kg of waste annually.

Products made from recycled leather from our saddles

We now have a whole range of leather goods produced from our leather offcuts. No leather has been specifically bought for these items and each piece of leather is cleverly re-used to its best advantage, to design our products. Some pieces are naturally softer and more supple that others. Pieces like these are perfect for making a pair of gloves. Conversely, other stiffer bits of leather are ideal for making leather goods, such as bags.

Leather gloves

These are a blend of soft calf leather on the palm and buffalo leather on the upper. The soft French organic cotton inner lining has also been designed with comfort in mind. The gloves are made entirely in France from 100% French materials. The cotton is French and sourced from organic agriculture.

The Paris handbag

This spacious bag can store lots of essential items, including a laptop. It has three inside zip pockets so you can easily find your belongings, plus your keys, purse and telephone will all be close to hand. The Paris handbag has an adjustable shoulder strap for a perfect fit. In fact, with stirrup buckles on each side and 9 shoulder strap holes, its a tailormade bag! The strap has a sliding reinforced pad to keep your shoulder comfortable.

The Oliva grooming bag

The Oliva grooming bag is a hugely versatile bag that you can take anywhere. It’s ideal around the stables and the perfect accompaniment for that urban chic look. Its trapezoidal shape and many pockets provide plenty of space when you want it. Its long leather handles are easy to grip and don’t hamper your movement when you carry it.

The helmet

Like our leather goods range, the chinstraps of our helmets come from leather scraps of our custom-made saddles. An eco-responsible approach that is in line with our values. To learn more about our helmets, read our blog post on the subject.

The high quality materials used and the way they are made means that our products are designed for a long life. Clearly, using leather offcuts doesn’t detract from Antarès’ standards of excellence. All the initial quality of our leather is preserved as we don’t correct the grain, which gives the leather its appealing irregularities.