The dehairing and degreasing of hides are among the most impactful tanning phases on the environment. But today there is no lack of available alternatives, as rational tanneries know well. The use of biological compounds developed ad hoc for some stages of the leather processing allows, for example, to limit the consumption of chemical products, reduce the load of pollutants in wastewater and consequently also to save energy. We are specifically speaking of enzymes and microorganisms that represent a valid alternative to all those chemical auxiliaries used to prepare the hide/skin for the tanning treatment, in particular for the soaking and liming phases. One of the few companies that specialises in the production of enzymes for the tanning sector is Biodermol based in Lavis (Trento). It has been on the market for over sixty years and is now being organised to increase its production in response to the growing demand. “We have chosen to follow the path of the biological approach by engaging in intense R&D, carried out in our laboratories in collaboration with universities and research institutes”, explains Dario Baruchelli of Biodermol.
What is the advantage offered by enzymes? “Using an enzyme-based system to dehair and degrease hides has many environmental and economic benefits. It means first of all lowering the COD of waste water and reducing the use of chemicals, water and energy. The enzyme is a natural, harmless and completely biodegradable protein, which represents an optimal alternative also from an economic point of view because it does not increase the treatment costs of hides” continues Baruchelli.
In recent years Biodermol has also worked on the development of new biological formulations intended for water purification, odour abatement, waste and biomass treatment and soil decontamination.