Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Green Leather!?! Yes!!

by Jeanne Latoures
Edelman Leather, ASID Industry Partner

Full grain leather says luxury, but it is also very practical! Leather is durable, breathable, easy to clean and a natural product. That should translate to “Green” right?

Not always. To consider a product’s sustainability, you must consider how it is processed. Leather happens to be a byproduct of the food industry. By using the byproducts of the meat industry, waste is eliminated!

The processing of the hide is key. A tanning process that is built mostly around water-based materials which limit emissions of VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) is best. Leathers that are tanned solely with tree bark extract, i.e. Quebracaho, Mimosa, and Oak, are referred to as “Vegetable Tannage.” This is a great example of how old-fashioned techniques can be inherently green when compared to highly mechanized, industrial methods. Vegetable tannage takes longer, so many companies hesitate to use it, but it is a truly “Green” method.

European full grain leather is the best! In Europe, grazing land is limited. The animals live on well-kept farms where they are grass fed, cleaned and put in at night. This preserves the land’s natural plant and wildlife balance and produces hides that are largely unstained & unscarred. The natural grain is beautiful, making it unnecessary to sand off or hide any flaws with embossing. Additionally, because full grain is unblemished, it is possible to use translucent dyes rather than heavy layers of pigment.

Full grain leathers that are aniline dyed and have small amounts of pigment in the finish have a lifespan 4 to 5 times that of fabric. Therefore, the life of a leather chair, even in a hotel lobby, is extended substantially. This eliminates waste, both financially and physically. As full grain leather patinas in, it gets better with age!

Edelman Leather uses all of the practices above. All Edelman Leathers are Green Guard Certified. Each leather has been tested and approved. Almost all Edelman packaging and shipping materials are from recycled products and are recyclable themselves.

For more information please visit or contact Jeanne Latoures 619.274.3042 or