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logoThe European Union leather industry, 70% of which is located in Italy and Spain, represents a significant share of global production and is an important economic sector for the whole EU. However, leather production is traditionally responsible for heavy environmental impacts. In particular, industrial leather tanning entails significant use of:

  • hazardous substances during the tanning phase which end up in waste water
  • fatliquoring products (used to re-introduce oil following tanning) which are generally not biodegradable;
  • formulations containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or that generate persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) substances.


In addition, there are difficulties in recycling and disposal of semi-finished or finished products containing toxic metals, in particular chromium. The whole sector needs to significantly improve the environmental sustainability of its processes.

The present project addresses the defatting, fatting, dyeing, bating and tanning process and innovates it by substituting the chemical and toxic products with natural, biodegradable products which will improve safety and ecosustainability, in particular:

  • Increased penetration of fatting and defatting process into derma, resulting in better performances of the finished product
  • Defatting and fat exhaustion, less product consumption
  • Less pollutants in bath wastewaters
  • Formulations for leather applications, capable of inducing high performances through natural products
  • Specific properties of the leather application
  • High aesthetical profile as for touch and fullness
  • Main features: complying with UNI - 10594 and 10826 requirements and with guidelines for “not harmful” classification contained in directive 2002/231/EC
  • Defatting biodegradability test (OECD regulation): 99,99%


   CONTACTS:   Alice dall'Ara (Project coordinator) - Federica Bezzi

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