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UNIDO has prepared and published over one hundred publications, papers, manuals and guidelines, primarily aimed at technical experts and policy makers in developing countries, though many are used by sector-related institutions and development organizations elsewhere.

The website www.leatherpanel.org is intended to provide an easy access to information sources on the leather, footwear and leather products industry, as well as to UNIDO publications related to the leather sector in one place, including earlier publications that were previously only available in hard copy.

Historically, for various reasons, tanneries have been generally found in clusters in many countries. In several countries that still possess a strong tanning industry, the industry has either been able to deal collectively with the environmental challenges by means of common waste treatment facilities in existing clusters (e.g. India, Italy, Pakistan) or is in the process of relocation.

Within almost all projects of tannery relocation there are common reasons and the main problems faced by the industry at the current location are:

With no infrastructure for treatment of solid or liquid waste generated by tanneries, a very unhygienic atmosphere has been created in the entire locality due to discharge/disposal of untreated solid and liquid wastes.

Due to extreme limitations of space, even tanneries wanting to modernize and become more efficient in terms of production and environment management are unable to do so. The present location, in this manner, has become a serious constraint for the growth of the industry.

Downstream industries such as footwear, leather garment and leather goods, depend on the tanning industry for supply of quality leather. The existing limitations have put a limit to the growth of leather products industries.

Relocation of the tanneries to a more spacious location with appropriate infrastructure for efficient and cost effective treatment of solid and liquid wastes has thus become a prerequisite for survival and growth of the leather industry in such cases.

The precarious situation with water and soil pollution in the area of tannery clusters along the Palar River prompted the state environmental authorities to press for adherence to TDS discharge limits as well as to impose an approach not practiced in the tanning industry: a Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) concept.

Essentially, the ZLD systems concentrate dissolved solids by Reverse Osmosis (RO) and some kind of Multi Effect Evaporation (MEE) until only damp solid waste remains. Solid waste is disposed and nearly all water is reclaimed and reused. Accordingly, some of the existing Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs) have been supplemented by RO and MEE, together with auxiliary steps (tertiary treatment, water softening etc.).

The analysis investigates and relates raw and equalized effluent inflows, RO feed, permeate and reject, evaporator feed and condensate and the yield of recovered, reusable water. Since the energy costs are critical for the viability of the entire concept, data about energy consumption (thermal, electrical main and Diesel) at key stages (RO, multistage evaporation) are consolidated, analysed and correlated. Additional energy needs and costs are compared with those for conventional (CETP) treatment and estimates made of the carbon footprint increase caused by the ZLD operations.

 

UNIDO on-line learning How to deal with hydrogen sulphide gas

Confronted with increasing legal and social pressures, no tanner can afford the luxury of not being familiar with the main issues and principles of occupational, safety and health protection pertaining to tannery operations.

Hydrogen sulphide gas present in tanneries and effluent treatment plants has proven fatal to workers exposed to it many times.

See also Safety Video - How to deal with hydrogen sulhide gas

It is therefore necessary that the owners and managers of tanneries and effluent treatment plants are fully aware of the dangers posed by this poisonous gas and take all preventive and precautionary measures to protect the workforce from exposure to this gas. In the event of accidental exposure of a worker, they should know how to deal with the situation.

The lessons that follow are to help tanners, tannery managers and operators to acquaint themselves with the basic principles How to deal with hydrogen sulphide gas.

The on-line course developed by UNIDO including test provides an opportunity for the proper training within tanneries related to danger associated with hydrogen sulphide gas. After finishing the test with minimum score 80%, participants will receive the certificate and will be able to download it.

How to enrol into the UNIDO on-line course “ How to deal with hydrogen sulphide gas”?

Follow a link: https://institute.unido.org/moodle/course/view.php?id=14

Enrolment key: H2Safety

 

It is hoped that the certificate will be accepted also by Occupational Safety and Health Authorities as a proof that staff was properly trained.

Hydrogen supplied gas present in tanneries and effluent treatment plants (ETPs) has proven fatal to workers exposed to it many times.

It is therefore necessary that the owners and managers of tanneries and effluent treatment plants are fully aware of the dangers posed by this poisonous gas and take all preventive and precautionary measures to protect the workforce from exposure to this gas. In the event of accidental exposure of a worker, they should know how to deal with the situation.

UNIDO’s activities in the leather processing has as one of its important objectives, improvement of occupational safety and health practices in tanneries and effluent treatment plants. Under this objective, the project has been seeking to demonstrate in selected tanneries improvement practices for better occupational health and safety of the workers.

It is hoped that the industry representatives and other concerned with the occupational health and safety of workers in tanneries and effluent treatment plants will find this publication useful.

Tanning industry is an important segment of UNIDO technical assistance in promoting sustainable development. In late 90-ies a number of studies dealing with various cleaner tanning methods, including the widely used paper The Scope for decreasing pollution load in leather processing, were prepared to support different forms of training activities (shop-floor demonstrations, pilot plants, national and regional workshops etc).

In the meantime a lot of practical experience has been gathered, some new tanning technologies developed and implemented and some new challenges have also emerged.  Since proper training is essential precondition for modern, sustainable leather processing, it is felt that a single, comprehensive paper on cleaner leather technologies, rounding up and updating earlier papers, could be of great help in training and capacity building activities.

In addition to traditional cleaner technologies topics such as pollution sources/loads, water management, hair-save liming, low- or ammonia-free deliming, chrome management, low-organic solvents finishing, solid waste management etc., this comprehensive study addresses virtually all issues relevant for performance and successful tanning operations: tannery environmental management systems (EMS/CSR), Restricted Substances Lists (RSL), energy considerations, mechanical operations, Occupational Safety and Health at workplace (OSH), Carbon Footprint (CF) and Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) which are so often the subject of extensive debates in various international fora and media.

The study also includes many tables, charts and (equipment) photos accompanying and illustrating the text.

It is envisaged that the document will serve as a basis for developing globally accessible eLearning courses on sustainable leather manufacture.

There are also other useful information and sources e.g. Tannery of the Future. The Tannery of the Future tool gives tanners an initial indication of the areas in which they need to become more sustainable, e.g. housekeeping, waste management, working conditions and wages. It also provides references to sources of more in-depth information and guidance.

The Global Leather Coordinating Committee (GLCC) in 2013 sought to identify real and perceived strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of importance to the leather industry. This paper sets down a mosaic of major issues stemming from these considerations.This paper was published in the World Leather (February/March 2014).

Dissolving the hair substance in the course of liming and unhairing entails a high load of organic pollution in wastewater; as the environmental demands have grown acute, it has become necessary to further reduce wastewater pollution load as much as possible. Hair-save technology, using only chemicals traditionally applied in liming, is among simple and good options towards achieving that aim. Hair-save unhairing is far from being a general practice as yet, but in future the increase of environmental costs and external pressures might make it more attractive. In addition to process description, equipment requirements, the scope for utilization of hairs obtained as well as cost considerations are also provided.

For an easy reference older papers are also available.

The objective of the study e-Learning in the leather based industries is to analyze the the use of modern (non-traditional, beyond the textbook and classroom based) training methods and related tools. Special attention is paid to the new UNIDO effort in building a library of electronic training materials for the leather, footwear and other leather products industries. As the first attempt the footwear pattern engineering training kit transferred into e-Learning tools are presented in order to demonstrate capabilities and the potential of this technology. Paper presented during the 18th UNIDO Leather Panel in Shanghai/China September/2012

Th report provides an overview of publications, standards and references for the calculation of the Product Carbon Footprint (PCF) of the product Finished Leather together with recommendations for harmonization and the main elements needed to define system boundaries. The inherent complexity and inadequate exactness of carbon footprint analyses contrasts with the need to communicate the results in a simple, clear and unambiguous way. The report was prepared for and presented by Mr. F. Brugnoli  in the 18th  UNIDO Leather Panel in Shanghai/China September/2012

International concern has increased over the years on Climate Change. The ten hottest years on record have all occurred since 1998. Out of the last 21 years 18 are among the 20 warmest years since 1880. Data and findings add weight to the common conclusion that the clear long-term trend is one of global warming. Most of the observed increase in global average temperature since the mid - 20th century is very likely due to the observed rise in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations. Among these, particular attention is paid on CO2 (carbon dioxide). Latest estimates show that global CO2 emissions increased to 30,600 million tonnes in 2010. Industry and manufacturing contribute for 19% of all Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Interest has been developed in estimating the total amount of GHG produced during the various stages in the life cycle of products. The outcome of these calculations, are referred to as Product Carbon Footprints (PCFs). Currently, there is no single methodology and no agreement has been reached internationally on Leather PCF calculation methods.

The paper presents the results of the implementation of solar collectors in three Bangladeshi tanneries as well as of energy audit in four Bangladeshi tanneries to evaluate and improve their electrical performance.

It is well known that tanneries use high amounts of hot water and electricity, and today energy costs are raising very fast all over the world, with energy costs increasing their share in the costs of leather production. Other problem especially in developing countries are frequent power cuts and problems with energy supply. Tannery relocation planned in Bangladesh from Hazaribagh to new Tannery Estate Dhaka is an opportunity to implement measures to reduce energy consumption which should lead to reduced costs for production but also reduced GHG production. Therefore, within the Re-Tie-Bangladesh project (Reduction of Environmental Threats and Increase of Exportability of Bangladeshi Leather Products1) UNIDO has implemented two actions to reduce energy costs in Bangladeshi tanneries: use of solar energy - solar water heating and electrical performance improvement.

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