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Southwest Airlines Upcycles Airplane Seats into Soccer Balls


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Southwest Airlines Upcycles Airplane Seats into Soccer Balls

Project LUV Seat

Over the last few years, Southwest Airlines has replaced roughly 80,000 leather seats in about 450 of their jet planes.

Southwest replaced the old seats with lighter and more durable faux leather seats, leaving the equivalent of about 32 football fields of used leather, while each plane’s weight was reduced by more than 600 pounds, allowing them to save on fuel.

This leftover material inspired the company to begin Project LUV Seat, which allows them to upcycle that old seat leather into eco-friendly soccer balls and shoes for kids in Africa, and many other items.

Southwest LuvSeat Infographic

Courtesy of Southwest Airlines – Click to view

The project not only allows them to convert waste materials into new products, but it also provides jobs and skills training for disadvantaged people in Africa as well as the United States.

For Project LUV Seat, Southwest Airlines collaborated with Alive & Kicking—the training program for young adults who have created over 1,000 soccer balls to support education programs designed to increase awareness about HIV/AIDS and malaria prevention.

Southwest has also teamed up with a Portland, Oregon-based upcycling company called Looptworks that has made stylish handbags, backpacks and toiletry kits out of the leftover leather, with the help of disabled workers.

Not only is Project LUV Seat able to help Southwest upcycle their old leather seats, but it has given Looptworks the opportunity to spread its message of upcycling and reducing waste to a much wider audience.

Scott Hamlin, co-founder of Looptworks, stated, “Each Southwest bag saves up to 4,000 gallons of water and reduces carbon emissions by up to 70 percent.”

So far, Southwest Airlines has been able to upcycle only about 20 percent of its seat leather, but they are interested in replicating the project in other parts of the world like Latin America and the Caribbean as the airline expands in those areas over the next few years.

comment_2What do you think about Project LUV Seat? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below—we’d love to hear from you!

Resources:

Southwest Airlines: Project LuvSeat
Dallas Morning News: Southwest ‘upcycles’ old airplane seat leather into bags, balls, shoes
Michael W Travels: Airplane Seats Transformed For Good Cause…
Skift: Southwest Turns Discarded Leather Seats Into Soccer Balls

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Loretta
Loretta
6 years ago

Very Cool!!! Thank you Southwest Airlines! Another reason why you are my #1 airline to fly! Keep up the good work; raise the bar for other corporations!

Jen Haralson
Jen Haralson
6 years ago

I love this program!! I actually have one of the first round of bags that Looptworks made with the SWA leather – it’s a great bag, and such a fantastic example of how companies can think out of the box when it comes to “waste”.

Rebekah Edwards
Rebekah Edwards
6 years ago

Great job Southwest!

Amy Hepfner
Amy Hepfner
6 years ago

Awesome idea….we need more of this kind of thinking in the world

Melissa Short
Melissa Short
6 years ago

Not only do they have amazing rates compared to the other airlines, but they actually care about our earth too?? Way to go Southwest!! Makes me happy that I can choose your airline for even more positives.

Edna Esswein
Edna Esswein
6 years ago

This makes me happy that SW is the number 1 Airline that I choose every time. Not only do they offer great deals, but I entrust them with my underage children to get them safe from point A to B when they go to their fathers on holidays. I did not know about this project but love that there are people employed at SW that care about our environment as much as I do, and have found a way to be a part of a greener future.

Heather Schumm
Heather Schumm
6 years ago

Love this idea!! So cool!

Leah Rissien
Leah Rissien
6 years ago

Very good! I wonder if we can do the same with our own used leather goods? I’ll have to see if I can donate my old leather purse to something like this!

Stacey Monahan
Stacey Monahan
6 years ago

What a great idea! And who knew that changing the seat covers could reduce the weight of the plane by so much? Not something I would have thought of. Now if we could get them to switch to compost able beverage cups, that would be awesome!

Kristen Fuchs
Kristen Fuchs
6 years ago

Just another reason to love Southwest. I think it is great that they did this, one step closer to reuse and look at how many lives were changed.

Jessica Ferrell
Jessica Ferrell
5 years ago

That is awesome!

Jennifer Rottman
Jennifer Rottman
5 years ago

What a great idea! This is a great reason to pick this company to fly with.

Leigh-Ann Ross
Leigh-Ann Ross
5 years ago

SO cool! I love when big companies get behind things like this!

Gingi Freeman
Gingi Freeman
4 years ago

Southwest is my FAVORITE airline (not even kidding, I had frequent flyer miles with them!) but I had NEVER heard of this! How super cool!!!