The market demand for chrome-free and more recently metal-free leather products has spurred GSC Group to search for new tanning materials that were as performing as possible, but also more sustainable. The search for an innovative tanning system must therefore have a reduced environmental impact, it must possibly derive from natural raw materials and finally exhibit a very high safety profile, evidenced by a very “green” safety data sheet. Moreover, to be sustainable, this innovative tanning system must make all-round considerations on the tanning supply chain: processing waste (shaving and trimming) must also not impact the environment and possibly be re-used in other sectors; the waste water generated must be in line with the most common water discharge parameters, but above all not create new problems for the tannery in terms of disposal.
With the start of the LIFE GOAST LIFE16 ENV/IT/000416 project, at present on its final phase of the implementation, and the participation of partners involved in the tanning business, water treatment and university fields, GSC Group has managed to achieve many of the proposed objectives, developing a new tanning system based on a newly developed acrylic polymer and a particular tannin mixture. The leathers produced with this system are light beige in colour, exhibit a shrinkage temperature of 72-74°C, are very compact and easily shaveable. The major technical advantages offered by this type of tanning are grain firmness which is definitely superior to the available standards, leathers with performances completely in line with the traditional wet-white based on glutaraldehyde and the possibility of recovering and requalifying residual shavings with high efficiency. The LIFE GOAST team, in fact, is studying how to redevelop these by-products that can potentially be redeveloped in bio-oil and bio-char, new raw materials to be introduced in the production cycle perfectly in line with the assumptions of the modern circular economy.
For more information, please visit the website of the project www.lifegoast.eu.