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Leather Craft & Design

Vegetable tanned leather – durable and environmentally-friendly

Vegetable tanned leather in different colors

Vegetable tanned leather – durable and environmentally-friendly

Customers of today have become more and more concerned about the production processes and origin of the leather for their goods. Vegetable tanned leather, fair production and trade have gained increased value for the  buying decision.

The majority of leather still is tanned with chrome or toxins wich pollute the water. Thus endangering the environment for animals and plants, alike, as well as the health of human beings. Consequently, the leather industry has been criticised a lot.

Producing vegetable tanned leather by tanning it in a natural way, that is how it used to be done originally, gets more and more popular again. By using tannins and tanning supplements such as barks, woods, fruits, plant leaves, or oils, the whole process is more environmentally-friendly and doesn’t pollute the water that much.

Tanners use extracts of the following material:

  • mimosa, oak, spruce or birch bark
  • chestnut and quebracho wood
  • olive leaves
  • fruits like Tara
  • rhubarb roots, chestnut, or others

With around 40 days time and precision, leather with the following advantages is being developed:

  • unique, long-lasting, smooth and more flexible vegetable tanned leather, wich is much more tolerated by the skin.
  • more colour-intense leather as through chrome-tanning. Vegetable-tanning allows the colour to soak in much deeper in the pores, and thus highlight the material’s texture more precise.
  • leather with its own patina over the time of its usage.

Vegetable-tanned leather mainly stems from bovine hides (cow, bull or calf) as a by-product from the meat market. The leather production includes the following parts: shoulders, fronts, double-butts and bellies out of cow and bull leather, sides from calf leather.

An organisation representing tanneries of vegetable leather, is „The Genuine Italian Vegetable-Tanned Leather Consortium“. It promotes 22 italian tanneries from Tuscany tanning leathers following the traditional Tuscan technique of vegetable tanning.

Its aim is to keep the Italian vegetable-tanning tradition alive, to guarantee a proper tanning process respecting the environment, and to promote the Tuscan craft. Thus, Tuscan vegetable tanning is a perfect marriage of natural quality, old tradition, and advanced technology.

More Information about tanning leather in Tuscany and about the Genuine Italian Vegetable-Tanned Leather Consortium can be read here.

 

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