Bonded leather (also called "reconstituted leather") is a material made with leather fibers and binders.
What is Bonded Leather?
Bonded leather (also called “reconstituted leather”) is a material made with leather fibers and binders (PU, latex, acrylic, etc.). It’s produced in rolls or sheets. They are available in thickness of 0.10 to 6 millimeters.
The bonded leather is produced with leather waste (scraps or pieces) and is a homogeneous material, economical and can be finished to look and have superficial appearance similar to leather. Making bonded leather is a good way to use by products of the tanning industry to achieve at the end almost zero waste by manufacturing higher valued materials.
Bonded leather has been made for more than 70 years and are mainly used as a material for shoe components, bookbinding (book covers), furniture parts, wall panels and leather goods. The use is mostly limited to nonmoving parts, since the mechanical properties are inferior to real leather.
What is Bonded Leather Made Of?
Leather fibers usually coming from grinded leather pieces and/or scraps and mixed with binders (glue) to make the fibers stick together. In analogy to wood, it is like a particle board wood made of wood chips, sawmill shavings and wood flakes and bound together by binders.
The surface can be finished quite similarly to leather in regard to appearance, embossing (hair pores or print). Waxes and oils can be added to the surface to give a more natural feel. Sometimes is very difficult to distinguish real leather from bonded leather in an article.
Is Bonded Leather Real Leather?
The ISO Standard 15115.2019 defines that “leather disintegrated mechanically and/or chemically into fibrous particles, small pieces or powders, and is then, with or without the combination of a binding agent, made into sheets or other forms, such sheets or forms are not leather”.
Articles made with bonded leather must be labeled as “bonded leather” as component material.
Faux Leather Vs Bonded Leather
The bonded leather contains real leather fibers and faux leathers do not contain leather fibers.
How Long Does Bonded Leather Last?
In applications where there is some stress or mechanical flexibility it can last several years (3 to 5 years). On applications like bookbinding or wall panels it can last much longer.