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Larry Thomas

Universal Leather selling ‘regenerated' Eco-Leather in U.S.

HIGH POINT — Universal Leather, a supplier to upholstery producers, has signed an agreement with Chinese tannery Thysun Ltd. to market and sell that company's Eco-Leather articles in the United States.

Unveiled at last week's Showtime fabric show here, Eco-Leather is "regenerated leather" that features a polyurethane top with a backing made largely of leather shavings.

Universal President Ken Kochekian said the articles are 70% leather and can be legitimately sold as all-leather products.

"With this product, manufacturers can sell an all-leather sofa for 20% to 25% less that it would cost using a leather hide," Kochekian said.

And since Eco-Leather is sold by the yard and shipped in rolls, he said it dramatically reduces waste. A typical leather hide will have yields of only 60% to 70%, while Eco-Leather yields will be 90% to 96%, he said.

The product is priced at about $11 per yard, FOB China, or about $12 per yard out of Universal's warehouse in High Point.

Kochekian said Eco-Leather is produced by mixing leather shavings with resin, and then bonding the materials with high-propensity water jets. The finished product is made with a process called aldehyde tanning that eliminates the use of chrome, he said.

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