Inspiration for a greener tanning industry from the Arzignano tanning district.


GreenLIFE, Green Leather Industry for the Environment, is a project funded by the European Union, as part of the Life+ programme. The project is sponsored by five companies based in the Vicenza Tannery District, the Dani and Gruppo Mastrotto tanneries, the chemical company Ikem, Acque del Chiampo that manages a water purification plant, and Ilsa a biotechnology company specialising in plant-nutrition products. The project aims to reduce the environmental impact of leather processing as well as providing a first step towards a common direction for the entire Vicenza Tannery District.
GreenLIFE’s main goals are:

  • 20% reduction in water consumption in the beamhouse stage
  • 20% decrease in chemicals used in the beamhouse stage
  • 20% reduction in solid waste
  • a large reduction in sulfides in the hair-removal tannery stage
  • 15% recovery and re-use of by-products with industrial value
  • a new knowledge hub to share ideas and technologies

The project lasts 3 years, starting from 2014, and the investment required is 2,3 millions euro, with half the amount financed by the EU.

These are the research lines:

  • Developing the oxidative liming process to an industrial scale with recovery of liming baths.
  • Developing the enzymatic liming process and chrome free leather to a semi-industrial scale.
  • Recovery, treatment and re-use of by-products resulting from the tanning processing in industrial, agro-industrial and energy fields.
  • Assessment of the effect of new technologies on the water treatment system.
  • Environmental and socio-economic impact analysis of the new technology, through simulation at the Vicenza Tannery District level.

GreenLIFE will provide permanent updates to all its stakeholders. GreenLIFE demonstrates innovation capability, openness and cohesiveness among the district companies and demonstrates their willingness to act as a group rather than individually.

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