Purpose of Eco-Friendly Leather
Because we have the environment, our planet, and our community at heart, we dedicated a lot of time and effort to choosing the highest quality, eco-friendly leather we could find. We only work with a tannery that meets our high standards for work conditions and environmental impact.
What is vegetable-tanned leather?
The term "vegetable tanned" (or "veg tan") comes from a particular process of tanning that uses natural oils and barks to prepare a cowhide. It requires more skill, time, and cost compared to the way most commercial leather hides are tanned (often called "chrome-tanned"). We chose vegetable-tanned leather for both its significantly lower environmental impact and its quality. It ages beautifully and gives our products the classic patina glow. Over time, it will naturally become softer to the touch. Chrome-tanned leathers do not tend to age like this and can feel plastic-like and fake.
We also decided to use vegetable tans to avoid harsh chemical tans that chrome-base leather uses. They contain heavy metals that pollute the environment, the groundwater, the soil and are harmful to workers' health.
A significant part of the environmental impact of leather also occurs in the manufacturing process. Therefore, it is not only the chemicals used in the tanning process that determine how eco-friendly a leather is. How water, wastewater, air emissions and energy are used are are important aspects of the process.
The tannery we partner with treats wastewater in their in-house plant before releasing it to the district treatment plant, which helps ensure the water is clean before being returned into the environment. Among some innovative eco-friendly policies, they collect and use rainwater in their processes and have focused on energy efficiency. Even the design of the building of the tannery favors natural ventilation and lighting to save energy. See Sheong Shi Tannery for more information about our partner tannery.