LIFE ECODEFATTING - Environmentally friendly natural products instead of chemical products in the degreasing phase of the tanning cycle

LIFE ECODEFATTING - Environmentally friendly natural products instead of chemical products in the degreasing phase of the tanning cycle

The LIFE ECODEFATTING project aims to demonstrate the feasibility of using innovative environmentally friendly products for the defatting phase of the leather tanning process. It thus hopes to contribute to a more environmentally sustainable development of the leather industry.

The project hopes to replace toxic chemical products with natural products from renewable sources. It will specifically avoid the use of defatting agents which contain chlorinated molecules and favour the transformation of chromium III into chromium VI during the disposal of waste leather and used leather articles. It aims to identify natural defatting products that penetrate better into the derma of the leather, giving better performance.

The project aims to reduce the contamination levels in wastewater from the tanning sector. It will study biodegradability processes to ensure that more biodegradable defatting products can be used, which will make it easier to implement biological wastewater treatments. This will mean both savings in the consumption of chemicals for purification - coagulants, flocculants, etc - and less generation of sludge.

The project seeks to improve the environmental impact of leather goods over their life cycle. It hopes thus to enable leather manufacturers to obtain the European eco-label for their products. The label covers parameters related to leather and its processing, such as the content of arsenic, cadmium and lead in the final products and the chromium III content in wastewater.

Expected results: The project expects to achieve the following:

  • Replacement of all petrochemical products with natural products, based on renewable sources for the defatting phase of the tannery process;
  • Six new tanning formulations for the defatting phase, containing six different natural products based on glycerol diacetate products and derivatives;
  • Laboratory production of 100 innovative samples making use of natural products;
  • Tanning of 50 sheep/goat skins and bovine leathers using the natural products in the defatting phase;
  • Production of 100 leather goods, using the natural products for the defatting stage, and all manufactured in compliance with the European Eco-label criteria;
  • Elimination (100%) of the presence of chlorinated molecules from the defatting phase; 
  • Elimination (100%) of the chlorinated functional group in the defatting phase; and
  • Laboratory analyses in order to check the following: - Less (20%) pollutants in bath wastewaters; - Reduction (20%) of water consumption during the tanning process; - Reduction (20%) of polluting load in tannery waste water; and - Toxicity reduction of high chlorine in the tanning cycle (100%).

Contact person: Massimo Corsi
Tel: 390554573251

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