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Environmental aspects of tanning and sustainable leather production are important issues for the leather industry. German contract tanner, Südleder has focused on reusing process waste and wastewater waste for energy production since 2007 and has received a number of environmental certifications and awards that underline its green credentials.
Südleder separate fat from fleshings and use it as a fuel for steam generation. The tannery, located in Rehau, Southern Germany also has its own bioenergy plant, which was built in 2012. In the bio-plant methane is produced from the separated fat and a precipitate from the wastewater treatment facilities (Click here to read more about Südleder’s bioenergy plant). After one year of continuous and stable operation from the bioenergy plant a third power and heat generator was installed in 2013.
This enables Südleder to produce about 1.4 MW of electrical power and 1.6 MW of heat energy, which makes the company energy independent and also saves approximately 10000 tons in carbon dioxide emissions from its raw to tanned (wet-blue, wet-white) production.
The successful implementation of the different environmental upgrades has encouraged the company to underline its results through the ECO2L Energy Controlled Leather Audit, which was successfully completed in April 2014.
The company’s production of high quality leathers made under the most modern processing conditions has also allowed Südleder to be awarded with the LWG gold award in July 2014.