A dispersing agent that disposes of water use in most of the operations in leather processing has been developed by Central Leather Research Institute, a constituent laboratory of CSIR, India.

The technology has successfully been validated at commercial level and a patent application has been filed. And CSIR-CLRI’s long-term plan is to license the technology to chemical companies to benefit the overall Indian and global leather sector.

Leather processing, carried out in multiple unit operations, uses at least 30L of water per kilo of raw hide/skin in order to convert into leather. Globally, about 30,000 metric tonnes of hides and skins are processed a day, which requires about 900 million liters of water every day. Most of the water used is discharged as effluent and treatment to meet increasingly strict environmental regulations is becoming more cost prohibitive.

With this breakthrough invention, massive amounts of water can be conserved daily by the global leather sector. Plus, the dispersing agent is also able to dispose of the use of common salt used for conditioning prior to tanning, thereby eliminating salinity concerns associated with tanning.

Apart from water and salt, other particular features of this new dry processing system include delimeing, bating and pickle-free tanning carried out as dry process; no new or additional infrastructure needed; up to 50% reduction in chemical input; and up to 30% reduction in process duration to the extent.