Reduction of Water Consumption in Leather Processing and an Investigation of the Leather Quality

Sumaya Ferdous, Md. Abdul Mottalib, Md. Abdul Goni, Md. Abdulla-Al-Mamun, Md. Aftab Ali Sheikh

2023 / Volume 6 / Pages 132-150
Received 3 February 2023; Accepted 3 April 2023; Published 7 April 2023

Extensive use of water in different industries particularly leather tanning has drawn attention in recent years. In this research, a new approach has been developed to reduce water consumption in the tanning industry. Four different experiments were carried out on raw goat skins by using various quantities of water which were much lower than the influx of water consumed in the conventional leather tanning processes. One control experiment was conducted in which the volume of water was used as 100% of the conventional method (37 m3/ton) in every step of leather processing. The experiments showed a reduction of 15%, 25%, 35%, and 50% in water consumption respectively from the control method used in the processing of raw leathers. The resulting goat leathers were examined with various physical tests such as tensile strength, percentage of elongation, stitch, tongue tear strengths etc. The results showed the presence of all significant qualities. The processed leathers were thermally stable and exhibited percentages of elongations in the range of 40.94% to 50.85% which were considerably higher than those (38.1%) observed with the conventional method. Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Thermal Gravimetric Analysis (TGA), and Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) studies confirmed identical morphological and structural characteristics of all processed leathers. These methods of leather processing are environmentally friendly and suitable for large-scale industrial production. Efficient reduction of water use in raw leather processing may significantly decrease the toxic liquid waste and tannery pollution.

water consumption, leather, tanning, quality, sustainability