Airline seats recycled into handbags in Portland


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — It’s positively Portland what one company is doing with 80,000 airplane seats.

Southwest Airlines partnered with Portland’s Looptworks to get rid of leather seats weighing down their fleet, and the company turned them into a line of unique handbags for sale.

“We rescue excess materials and transform them into apparel bags and accessories,” Loopworks employee Jennifer Nolfi said. She showed KOIN 6 News how the company turned 40-acres of leather into limited edition bags including the weekender duffel bag, the tote bag and backpack.

The hand-numbered products cost between $125-$250 and work started on them in October when Southwest replaced its leather seat covers with a lighter material to save on fuel costs. It contacted Looptworks to ensure the material didn’t go into a landfill.

“We’re using excess that’s already out there,” Nolfi explained. “There’s a lot of excess leather that is rejected because of imperfections that we find beauty in.”

The self-proclaimed environmentally-responsible company said re-using leather saves thousands of gallons of water and cuts carbon emissions – this as leather prices climb because of a cattle shortage across the country.

Lug around a Looptworks original and the company hopes it will inspire you to take more trips.

“We’re really proud to be part of that movement and to help create more awareness on using excess materials and reducing consumer waste,” Nolfi said.

Looptworks also partnered with a Portland nonprofit to train adults with disabilities to take apart the seats and clean them twice.

Click here to purchase one of their handbags.

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