Natural and sustainable leather

The Italian tanning industry, a symbol of quality and experience all over the world, is one of the most engaged in the product sustainability management and in reducing the waste of non-renewable resources, along with reducing the environmental impact of leather production in the areas surrounding the production facilities.

The logic of re-use can be found as early as raw materials, which derives from wastes of the meat industry.
The tanning industry, therefore, reuses and processes what in another industry would be a waste with a rather complex disposal.

The tanning industry, therefore, reuses and processes what in another industry would be a waste with a rather complex disposal.
The peculiarity of this industry is precisely refining and making valuable what would in fact be a waste material, implementing a sustainable circular pattern with a sense of responsibility towards the community.

In fact, most of the wastes of the tanning industry are destined for recovery: around 76%, according to 2016 estimates, a percentage that rises to 84% if all production waste is considered. Here are a few examples that demonstrate this model of reuse.

Flashing, the waste removed from hides before tanning, is processed to obtain hydrolysed proteins that are used to produce special fertilisers, which are totally biodegradable and pose no risk to public health or the environment.


The shavings, trimmings and various waste products are subjected to thermal or enzymatic hydrolysis processes, thanks to which high quality fertilisers can be obtained.

The processing of these by-products of the tanning industry also produces proteins that are useful in the creation of the so-called intelligent fertilisers, defined in this way because they are biostimulant and improve the physical characteristics of the soil.

Other waste, also rich in protein, is used to make products for the food supply chain such as collagen, artificial casings, gelatine, and food protein. When not suitable for food consumption, they can be processed into technical gelatines and glues.


Another interesting processing of tanning waste is the sludge from the treatment of wastewater, which, mixed with calcium carbonate, is used in granulates for construction and in the creation of bitumen for asphalts.

The trend to invest in innovative technologies and in the reduction of resource use is increasingly widespread in the leather processing industry. The Italian tannery can be considered as one of the most important models that demonstrates how a great attention to the whole production process is fundamental to create a quality leather and at the same time, pay attention to how you exploit the environment.