One of the key elements for humanity’s future is to restore and maintain the balance between natural resources and consumption and population growth. It is generally assumed that human impact is easily measurable. Perhaps the best approach to sustainability proposed in the UN Brundtland Commission Report (1987) stating: Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Generally speaking, absorption of new technologies is traditionally slow in the leather sector, established methods last for a long time. The main reason is that, despite considerable progress over the past few decades, leather manufacturing is a mixture of science, technology and craftsmanship, the nature of some processes has not yet been fully understood. The quality of leather produced in order to preserve the most important aspect, tanners are quite reluctant to modify the existing process and possibly have a negative impact on the quality.
Cleaner tanning methods also have their limitations due to the inherent characteristics of the raw material and and the desired properties of the finished leather, ultimately, a substantial percentage of all raw material and chemical inputs ends as waste. Normally, the pressure to adopt cleaner technologies emanates from environmental imperatives such as the need to meet specific discharge standards, reduce the cost of treatment, or comply with OSH standards. Typical primary objectives are- lower water consumption, improved chemical uptake, avoidance of hazardous and/or prohibited substances (Substances of Very High Concern, SVHC), improved quality / reusability of solid waste and reduced content of specific pollutants such as heavy metals3 and electrolytes contained therein.
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