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Leather Manufacture And Sustainability

The leather manufacturing industry has been in the eye of the storm for many years now when it comes to sustainability in business. There have been many controversies and debates about whether leather manufacturing is sustainable or not. 

This is a valid debate. Now more than ever, customers must question the practices that companies follow when producing their products.

What is the truth about the leather manufacturing industry?

The leather industry has been charged with:

 Overusing scarce water resources.

  • Using ecologically damaging leather-making techniques.
  • Culling protected species to produce novelty leather items.
  • Discharging toxic run-offs in the world's rivers and lakes.
  • Killing marine animals and land-based plants with chemical discharge.
  • Negatively impacting the health of workers with no emphasis on personal safety.

It is true that leather manufacturers about 30-40 years ago were guilty of the above crimes.

But today, more leather producers, suppliers, and retailers have become conscious of their role in safeguarding the environment. In fact, many leather manufacturers are actively trying to make each process/technique eco-friendlier and more sustainable.

The rise of sustainable leather manufacturing technologies

Leather manufacturers are investing in large-scale technological development. More companies are using technologies that either does away with or use natural alternatives for the chemicals needed to unhair and tan hides.

The issue of water shortage is being addressed by using technologies that can recycle toxic run-off and re-use the same water for further leather manufacturing processes. 

Employees at tanneries and other types of leather manufacturing companies are being given access to premium-grade protective gear, which they need to use when handling leather or chemicals. 

Additionally, companies are using technology to track the wellbeing and sustainability of animals from farms to the tannery to ensure they harvest eco-friendly materials. 

Companies recycle used leather to make new products

Finally, more leather manufacturers today are sending reminders to customers not to throw their old leather items. Instead, customers can send their old products back to the manufacturer, where leather is recycled and used to make new products. Other companies exclusively purchase discarded and shredded leather from recycling units to manufacture products.

All of these practices are making the leather manufacturing industry more sustainable.