Leather tanning is one of the oldest industries in the world, whose products find application in numerous fields like fashion, furniture design, car manufacturing, and aviation, among others. The established leader in this market on the international level is Italy.
Italy is leading the way in the implementation of leather tanning processes that are less polluting for the environment and for the workers in the factories. Here are some of the R&D and innovation areas for environmentally sustainable leather processing:
- Sulphide-free unhairing and metal-free tanning with low water consumption.
- Water-free automated retanning and dyeing.
- Optimized logistics and production systems along the whole supply chain for processing fresh raw hides.
- Extension of biotechnology application in leather production.
- Recovery and optimization of process by-products in order to obtain new materials for agriculture and industry.
- Transparent and scientifically consistent communication regarding the environmental impact and efforts done to avoid or reduce it (Francesco Turco).
As the tanning industry needs natural resources, chemical products and energy, environmental sustainability becomes a fundamental aspect of leather production. Companies strongly committed to ecological principles should be a norm in the industry in order to ensure long-term economic, environmental and social sustainability (Francesco Turco).
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