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Friday, September 17th, 2010

Is Leather Green?

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Is leather green?  Well, the short answer is… maybe.

In order to understand why that is the case, it helps to first take a look at the many processes involved in the creation of leather.

vegetable tanned leather by Moore & Giles

Let’s start out with the hide.  As you know, leather is made from a variety of animal skins – everything from cattle and sheep, to stingray and ostrich.  In order to become leather though, these skins need to go through the tanning process.  Tanning can be done in many different ways, and using a whole host of natural and manmade chemicals, many of which are extremely toxic.  Unfortunately, much of the leather tanning in the world is done in places with few, if any, regulations protecting the environment, the people involved in the tanning process, or even the water supply for the villages in which these people live.

For that reason, I always work with 100% vegetable tanned leather.  By utilizing the natural tannins found in a variety of plants, leather can be tanned without heavy metals or other deadly chemicals.

Leather tannery, Fez, Morocco