The transformation of putrescible animal integuments into a stable and versatile material such as leather, is perhaps the first, thousand-year old example of giving value of a waste in valuable commodity, in compliance with the principles of what we now call the Circular Economy (CE). The increasing production requirements, and the demand for products that are increasingly more responsive to the needs of an evolving society, have led to a progressive increase in the complexity of the leather technology. This has induced, inevitably, to a dramatic increase in the environmental impact and, therefore, to the loss of the early sustainable nature of the tanning industry. In order to highlight the negative environmental externalities, it is necessary to analyze all the stages of the tanning sector, starting from the origin of the raw material, to the design, production, consumption, to the end-of-life destination. Indeed, the linear economic model 'take-make-dispose' less and less adapts itself to the reality in which we operating. The current challenge on the sustainability of the tanning productive sector therefore requires a set of actions, including the use of efficient certification systems that induce chemical suppliers, tanneries and waste treatment companies to achieve a production flow increasingly transparent. Already today there are several leader companies that have embarked on a path aimed at the construction of a new market system that puts sustainability at the core as added value, with the ambitious objective of achieve the “Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals”. The CE model can provide a winning strategy if appropriately implemented also to a technologically complex production chain which is currently the tanning sector and provide the operative tools to aim in a new and consistent way to reduce the consumption of raw materials, water and energy, according to the “four R” model: Reduction, Reuse, Recycling and Recovery.

The model of the circular economy as a strategy for the sustainability of the tanning industry

Palumbo G.;De Clemente I. M.
In corso di stampa

Abstract

The transformation of putrescible animal integuments into a stable and versatile material such as leather, is perhaps the first, thousand-year old example of giving value of a waste in valuable commodity, in compliance with the principles of what we now call the Circular Economy (CE). The increasing production requirements, and the demand for products that are increasingly more responsive to the needs of an evolving society, have led to a progressive increase in the complexity of the leather technology. This has induced, inevitably, to a dramatic increase in the environmental impact and, therefore, to the loss of the early sustainable nature of the tanning industry. In order to highlight the negative environmental externalities, it is necessary to analyze all the stages of the tanning sector, starting from the origin of the raw material, to the design, production, consumption, to the end-of-life destination. Indeed, the linear economic model 'take-make-dispose' less and less adapts itself to the reality in which we operating. The current challenge on the sustainability of the tanning productive sector therefore requires a set of actions, including the use of efficient certification systems that induce chemical suppliers, tanneries and waste treatment companies to achieve a production flow increasingly transparent. Already today there are several leader companies that have embarked on a path aimed at the construction of a new market system that puts sustainability at the core as added value, with the ambitious objective of achieve the “Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals”. The CE model can provide a winning strategy if appropriately implemented also to a technologically complex production chain which is currently the tanning sector and provide the operative tools to aim in a new and consistent way to reduce the consumption of raw materials, water and energy, according to the “four R” model: Reduction, Reuse, Recycling and Recovery.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11588/747890
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