Letter from Dr C Money

10 March 2010

Dear Dr Lampard,I couldn’t stop smiling after I read ‘Greatest Leather Scientists’ published in the October 2009 edition of Leather International (page 28)! It was a great honour to be included in a list with Procter and Wilson etc. What you wrote captured what I tried to achieve. I tried to do good, useful science to overcome industry problems, especially environmental issues. I have thought about my career in leather research a lot since reading the article. The most rewarding things were the many friendships and seeing developments that I was involved in being taken up by the industry.

I am still working as a consultant to some of those remaining in the Australian leather industry. In Australia the surviving wet-blue tanners process green hides and skins, often after chilling or chemical short-term preservation, use hair-save unhairing, CO2 deliming and direct chrome liquor recycling. Irrigation of the effluent is the best way to treat the waste. Water use is low and salt use minimal. In the future, the environmental benefits should ultimately result in increased wet-blue processing in Australia. Kangaroo skins are also processed here without salting and using cleaner processes and very little water.
I was also really pleased to see the paper on recycling chrome liquors by Juan Manuel Salazar in the magazine, published November/December 2008 (page 38). I took Mr Salazar to see Victorian tanneries using our processes some years ago and he has made it work. Others have said that leather quality suffers if you use direct chrome liquor recycling. We know it doesn’t.
I really think tanners will need to determine their carbon and salt footprint in the future and this should result in more part processing near the supply of hides and skins.
I am very concerned about various articles about leather vs plastics and chrome vs vegetable. Your October guest column ‘Leather Naturally’ by Michael Redwood was very encouraging and we must overcome ‘greenwash’.

With very best wishes
Dr Catherine Money
Catherine Money Consulting
Melbourne, Australia

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