Fish Leather Wallets: Trash into Sustainable Products
- 20 Apr, 2020
Ecodunia is among the pioneers that are turning trash into dignified work and sustainable products by tanning fish skins and making fish leather wallets. We are a small part of a global effort to save the environment by making great products from what would otherwise be thrown away.
Globally, seafood consumption has more than doubled in the past 50 years, to over 20 kg per capita per year according to the European Commission. As demand for seafood rises, the sustainability of fish stock has become an ever more pressing issue. Here in Kenya, Fish is a huge part of people's diet, especially for the communities living in the lake region. The commodity is also on high demand in cities and towns across the country. Fisheries have been established across the country to meet the ever-increasing demand for fish. The result is huge piles of fish waste around fisheries and lakes, which pollute the environment.
Fish Fillet to Fish Leather Wallets
The reality is that many traders in the fish business are small-scale traders. Their greatest concern is feeding their families, regardless of the impact. Communities have to deal with the piles of waste that now seem normal. Unfortunately, the waste management system in Kenya is inefficient.
And that’s where we come in. One wallet at a time, we’re taking their fish skins, tanning them, dying them and making wallets. While government authorities deal with the burden of plastic waste, we are doing our part by turning fish waste into beautiful, durable products - and sustainable businesses.
Most fish sold in markets is filleted - leaving bones and skins as a by-product, which has opened up the opportunity for innovative solutions.
Some entrepreneurs have been taking some of the fillet left-overs for animal feed by making fish meals. Some have been using the scales for fertilizer. However, all these industries have not been able to keep up with the need for innovative ways to use all of the fish. And that’s where we come in. For us, fish skin is a raw material with amazing potential for useful, beautiful and sustainable products. Ecodunia turns fish skin into leather, which is then used to make unique wallets and bags.
Salt is used to treat any bacteria during the process before tanning the fish skins. Then, our fresh fish skins go through a thorough tanning process to make the leather, just as any other hide would. Soaking the raw fish skin in plant extracts strengthens it and removes the bad odor. The final stages include dying the skins and then pressing them so they have a beautiful, smooth finish - perfect for wallets.
The commitment of Ecodunia is to ensure that the final products meet international standards. We work hand in hand with a government agency for research and development, so that we can ensure that all processes are done in accordance with best practices, including environmental sustainability and producing the highest-quality fish leather.
The Future of Fish Leather
Ecodunia is currently producing fish leather wallets. However, fish skin does more than product wallets. In the future, we plan to expand our product line to include shoes, belts, purses, jackets, and sandals.
The use of fish skin to make sustainable products is just one way of preserving our natural environment. Our hopes and expectations are that our products will be an example and inspiration to others to think of creative ways of using waste.
The use of fish skin is still at the early stages of development and use. But as the demand for fish as a healthy source of proteins continues to rise, so will the need to innovate new ways to make the entire industry more sustainable.
We are doing our part by making amazing fish leather products. Ecodunia is excited to be a part of this exciting movement - and a pioneer of fish leather and fish leather products. Our mission is to bring useful, unique and sustainable products to the international marketplace, while providing dignified work to people who have been overlooked by the global economy. Fish leather wallets is one of the ways we are living up to our mission.