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Around 250 cowhides have been found during the demolition of the Ford Product Development Centre in the city of Dearborn, Michigan, which the carmaker has donated to be upcycled in the local community.
The hides were valued at US$450 to US$500 each, totalling over US$100,000. 3D Process Director for Ford Design, Jim Conner, confirmed they were originally intended for prototype vehicles and show cars from the last six to eight years.
Conner has played a key role in facilitating the recycling and upcycling of the materials to prevent them from being unnecessarily destroyed, telling local media that Ford had not realised the “type or quantity” of the leftover leather. “These are super high quality leather hides”, he said.
The premium, full-sized hides in shades of black, brown and grey vary, and although Ford has said the batch is too small to ship to factories, Conner has picked recipients which he believes will make a positive impact.
Pingree Detroit is the first Detroit business that has been chosen to receive the leather. Pingree sells handmade footwear and leather accessories created by U.S. veterans and civilians. The goods are sold exclusively at the Detroit Institute of Arts. According to co-founder and CEO of Pingree, Jarret Schlaff, the company has diverted over ten tons of leather from landfill thus far and will put this leather to good use in its new pet, home and footwear collections.
The second recipient of the leather is Mend on the Move, a non-profit organisation which employs survivors of abuse to create jewellery using salvaged auto parts. The company has previously been working with leather scraps, but the Ford contribution will allow the creation of much larger pieces.
Source: Detroit Free Press