Water use and leather production

17 / 04 / 2023

Original content by: Real Leather

The tanning industry is often regarded as one with very high water consumption because historically, it has been. But great strides have been taken to change this, and still many companies are striving to do better.

The benefits of using less water for tanning can be more than just the obvious. They can also mean fewer chemicals are needed, which, of course, will reduce the amount of residual chemicals and pollutants that need to be treated.

The treatment of water is also key. If the water that is used is cleaned well enough, it can be returned to the environment meaning that any losses are marginal – the water can be reused by the tannery or to irrigate crops.

The Sustainable Leather Foundation

The Sustainable Leather Foundation (SLF) is one of the organisations working hard to assess water use by tanners in order to work to reduce it. There are 32 tanneries across the world who are SLF partners, and their water use falls well under the benchmark that was established to measure it.

There is a whole raft of measures tanners are taking to lower their water consumption.

  • Reducing the number of washing processes for each hide
  • Using fresh hides which do not need salt removal
  • Using more efficient machinery
  • Reusing and recycling water
  • Reducing chemical use or using biodegradable chemicals

Processes have been refined so much recently that the amount of water used has reduced by 35% in the last 25 years. And, with the reuse of water and the refining of techniques, that reduction is continuing.

You can read the original post HERE