Chrome Free Leather


Alexandra Saad


The popular chromium salt tanning system is under constant pressure from environmental groups and international regulations due to its harmful impact on the ecological system. Now, traditional alternatives to this harmful process are making a comeback.

The chromium salt tanning system, which remains the most popular leather tanning procedure, is under constant pressure from environmental groups and international regulations due to its harmful impact on water systems and other ecological impacts. The process of creating chrome-tanned leather was invented in 1858, and utilizes chromium sulfate as well as other salts of chromium.

While the leather created during this process is generally more supple and pliable than chromium-free processes, and does not discolor or lose shape, the chemical and toxic waste that is produced during the chrome tanning process is prompting many tanneries to consider alternatives.                                        

The present chromium-free tanning process includes the method steps of pretanning a hide with vegetable extracts, neutralizing agents and finishing agents, all of which are free from chromium. This method yields a leather product that possesses characteristics of chrome-tanned leather such as superior shrink resistance, resilience and flexural strength - but without toxic chemical production or a negative impact on the environment.

Among the various chrome-free leather tanning methods, vegetable tanning is certainly the most classic, the most recognized in the industry and the most environmental-friendly. The process is able to combine comfort and fashion as well as tradition and versatility in one product.

Among the pioneering suppliers taking a more sustainable approach to leather production is Atlantic Leather. Established in Iceland, Atlantic Leather is known across the industry as one of the leading manufacturers of exotic leathers.  

The contemporary tannery works primarily with fish skin leathers such as salmon, perch, wolffish, and cod, among others. All of these materials mentioned are offered in a variety of textures, colors and finishes. The production of fish leather has been Atlantic Leather’s main focus for years. The manufacturer uses fish materials that are a by-product reclaimed from food processing activities - none of which are at risk of endangerment.

Fish leather craftsmanship can be an elaborate, intricate process. The coloration stage is an energy-intensive technique that requires a great amount of water normally. Yet Atlantic Leather uses only geothermal hot water - a renewable resource that is eco-friendly - in order to protect the environment and become a sustainable company. This manufacturer delivers its consumers a product with great style made in an environmentally conscious setting.

With a long history to its name, Pergamena was first established in Germany in the 1500s and is now located in the beautiful Hudson Valley. This manufacturer of leather and parchment is celebrated for its high quality fabric and their commitment to environmental responsibility. Sourcing all of their hides from North America, Pergamena has cultivated relationships with meat and dairy farms across the northeast, often using material that would otherwise be thrown out or shipped overseas. After choosing only the finest hides, their durable, soft leathers are produced using natural chestnut extract and oils, which are considerably less toxic to the environment than conventional chemical processing agents. For leathers in apparel, interior design, and bookbinding, Pergamena has become a premiere supplier worldwide.