There are many industries and consumer products, where leather is the preferred choice for its natural quality, look, feel and durability. A long-time staple of the furniture industry, leather furniture has widespread appeal, but it traditionally comes with high costs to the environment.
New AFA Member, Emtech, has come up with a disruptive technology that ‘designs out’ waste and provides a sustainable alternative to the chemical contamination and high water use in the production of traditional leather.
Enviro Hide© is a sustainable, circular economy product, that looks, feels and performs like leather – because it is made from leather waste and off-cuts.
The reconstituted leather product has obtained the prestigious Global Green Tag Platinum Product Health Declaration Certification.
Green Tag CEO David Baggs says that Enviro Hide demonstrates how the linear economy can be eliminated.
‘More and more products, including furnishings, end up in landfill and are harmful to the environment.
‘Enviro Hide© by EmTech is a game-changing material that is a real alternative to leather. Enviro Hide is a full circular product that is made from recycled leather products. It uses 90% less water than leather production, is 20% stronger than split leather and it passes all chemical tests around the Australian Government’s mandate on the use of harmful chemicals in manufacturing.’
Leather waste can be re-constituted to form new lengths of Enviro Hide©, again and again.
Enviro Hide is durable, lightweight, soft to the touch, low maintenance and long-lasting. It can be made in any length, colour, or embossed texture. The product is ideal for use in furnishing, automotive, aviation and fashion. In spite of its greater strength, Enviro Hide© is 70% of the weight of traditional leather.
For furniture manufacturers, Enviro Hide© is a sustainable, chemical-free alternative, with greater flexibility in bespoke colour, texture and size options. Wastage, and therefore costs, are reduced, and at end-of-life, the leather can be reconstituted.
Its appeal to increasingly sustainability-conscious consumers, can boost a product’s brand value, whilst delivering social and community benefits in terms of the environment, water quality and as a result, human health.’
Research into Enviro Hide© has been verified by independent, internationally recognised testing labs, LASRA & SGS, around composition, performance standards and chemical analysis. Prototype safe manufacturing processes were tested over two years, with detailed audits of qualifying manufacturing facilities.
The value of the global leather industry exceeds $110 billion AUD a year and it is expected to grow with increasing populations and urbanisation.
Toxic waste from the leather industry is a significant global environmental problem. It is estimated that one metric ton of animal hide is converted into only 200 kg of usable leather product – just 20%. The solid and liquid waste includes about 250 kg of non-tanned solid waste and 200 kg of tanned waste, (comprising 3 kg of the carcinogenic heavy metal, chromium) and 50,000 kg of wastewater effluent (comprising 5 kg of chromium).
The eradication of waste and the chemical and water-use reductions achieved by the Enviro Hide© team, demonstrate what can be achieved with sustainable, circular economy design.