reProLeather: Regenerating Bio-based Leather from Leather Waste


Leather production generates wastewater and harmful chemical residuals, such as chromium VI. HKRITA has developed a regenerated leather system that separates, categorises and recycles post-consumer leather products into useful raw materials for the manufacturing of new products.

  • reProLeather: Regenerating Bio-based Leather from Leather Waste 0
Technical name of innovation
Regenerating Bio-based Leather from Leather Waste
Research completion
Commercialisation opportunities
Technology licensing
Problem addressed

Conventional leather recycling involves use of synthetic, non-biodegradable and non-recyclable materials. This project has developed an eco-friendly and sustainable way to recycle leather so as to reduce the demand of new leather and the consequent impact to the environment and human health.

  • Post-consumer leather products are shredded into high purity leather fibers, and then free chromium is removed by transforming the substance into soluble salt or complex compound
  • The separated leather fibres react with bio-based binders such as sugar or protein under mild conditions, and collagen fibres become interconnected and form a new leather.
Key impact
  • A novel bio-based approach is water-resistant and biodegradable, resulting in a "virtuous circle" for leather recycling
  • A breakthrough in leather recycling as no synthetic and non-biodegradable materials are used
  • Gold Medal in the Special Edition 2022 Inventions Geneva Evaluation Days
  • Honourable Mention of World Changing Ideas Awards (2022)
  • Leather recycling
  • Sustainable leather production


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The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel (HKRITA)

Established in 2006, The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel (HKRITA) is funded by the Innovation and Technology Commission of the HKSAR government, and hosted by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. 

HKRITA has achieved research deliverables over the years around our research clusters targeting in sustainability, industry advancement and social benefits through our centre-owned research teams and laboratories as well as collaborations with industry partners and institutions.