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

Circular Economy. A simple explanation

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Written by Paolo Girelli, president of ILSA, a biotech company and greenLIFE partner.  

I think there is a “poetic” element in our working systems as we give back to the Earth what we take. Imagine a green, lush field, with grazing cows and calves. That field is lush because the soil is fertile, rich in organic substance and, within it, billions of microorganisms working incessantly to transform mineral and organic substances into nourishment for grass to be consumed by animals.

Our Earth is overpopulated and we need  a large amount of meat to sustain and feed people properly; this means the grazing cows will ultimately be sacrificed to generate meat and protein to sustain humans.

If this “story” would end at this point, it would be rather a pitiful story but, fortunately, this is not the case.

Meat and food products undergo a transformation process that generates waste. This waste, when properly recovered and transformed, turns into excellent products to be used in the zootechnical, pharmaceutical, cosmetic sectors to mention but a few.

In particular, hides are collected by tanneries which then transform and stabilize them to make them a suitable product for the production of clothes, footwear, furniture, car and airplane seats and more. Parts of these hides that are too small or are faulty, get discarded. At this point, ILSA comes into play.

In our factories, these hides are processed in a natural way, using steam and enzymes, and transformed into protein hydrolyzates;  ideal for the nutrition and well-being of all plant species. Once the process is complete, our products distribute to farms all over the world. I often observe these hides on arrival and wonder where they came from. Where did the cow it belonged to graze? I like to believe that the fertilizer produced at our plants (obtained from that very hide) could possibly arrive on the same farm in the same field where that cow one grazed and where its descendants graze today. To this end, we can almost bring her home to the same field where the natural cycle of the transformation of organic matter finally ends. This way, we can return to the Earth what we have taken.



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