Alternative Tanning Systems
Trivalent chromium remains a key chemical in the production of leather. However, there is continued interest in alternative tanning chemistries to provide options for the production of chrome free leathers (to a standardised level of chrome).
Collagen can be tanned in many different ways including metals and range of polyphenol and reactive chemicals. The two main alternatives to chromium are, however, vegetable tanning and aldehyde tanning. The resulting leather from these alternative tannages is different in terms of performance, handle and appearance to a chrome tanned leather but can be used for specific end uses.
Development with the leather industry, particularly within the chemical sector is ongoing to further refine systems and offer new alternatives.