China traveling at a good speed. Furniture working. The automotive starting again. Unfortunately, CRV is not yet a thing of the past, but these first positive signs make Antonio Battaglia, director of Silvateam‘s Leather Business Unit, optimistic. A positivity that also opens the market to new experiences and opportunities. For example, those that the group for Piemonte (specialised in the production of vegetable extracts and chemical products for the tanning sector) is exploring with the launch of a project of “absolute circularity”: Ecotan.
“The project concerns the possibility of developing a recyclable leather as a whole – explains Battaglia -. It all started about ten years ago, a long time during which the team of Eric Poles (Sales Director of the Leather Division, ed) worked intensely to fine-tune all the processing phases, together with our partners. And it reached full maturity during Lineapelle, in February 2020”. The Ecotan Leather project starts from nature by treating tannins of vegetable origin. Tanneries use them to tan leathers from which uppers, linings and insoles are born, but also products for the automotive and leather goods sectors.
In between, there is the finishing phase, on which Silvateam has similarly concentrated its efforts together with its partners. “We have worked long and hard to obtain a product without metals and glutaraldehyde – underlines Poles -. We have come to a certified solution in all its phases”. All this allows to obtain completely biodegradable products. But not only. “We obtain completely natural leathers, which therefore do not contain any metal – continues Battaglia -, for this reason we can transform them at the end of their life into certified fertilisers for organic farming”.
According to Silvateam, the moment is interesting to bring a certain type of circular innovation to the market. “The automotive industry is starting up again. China is well advanced, and furniture is growing because people have to stay indoors and therefore want a comfortable environment – explains Battaglia -. I am very optimistic, especially for the second half of 2021”. “As for us, things are going less worse than we thought a few months ago – adds Poles -. Many customers have had to stop, but we are present all over the world with different product lines and this has allowed us to work anyway”.
The difficulty of forecasting
For everything to start again, however, we still need a little patience. “It is difficult to make long-term forecasts”, concludes Battaglia. “We have to wait”, above all, “for tourists to return to travel to buy leather products. Usually, after a period of crisis, sales experience a boom”.
Images from ecotanleather.com