When you think about recycling in the aviation industry, most folks think of the aircraft that are scrapped and recycled. Some airlines will recycle the cans and cups onboard that get used, but that seems to be the exception rather than the rule. However, what about something on a different scale? Two programs have been launched this year that take different approaches to using up leftover materials and recycling them into something useful – something that will help people, not just the company’s bottom line.
In July of this year, Southwest Airlines launched their “LUV Seat” program, or as the motto puts it “Repurpose with a Purpose”. Labeled more as “re-purposing” than “recycling”, the program is designed to take the leftover leather from Southwest seat refurbishments and turn them into usable goods.
The first of those materials is heading to Africa, where seat leather will be turned into soccer balls, shoes, and other items. They don’t call it “recycling” – they call it “up-cycling”. Turning unwanted items into higher value products.