Exploring the feasibility of substituting mimosa tannin for pine bark powder. A LCA perspective
Conde Mateos, Mireia
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The use of vegetable tannins is a bio-based alternative to chrome tanning. The most used vegetable extracts are Mimosa and Quebracho. To improve the sustainability of the tanning process, a chemically unmodified pine bark could be used as a natural source of tannins. The present study was aimed to evaluate the environmental impact of the use of pine bark powder to obtain vegetable leather through a life cycle assessment. Specifically, the life cycle impact evaluation was performed for both: i) pine bark powder tannin and the atomized mimosa extract production as raw material; and ii) the production process of a tanned leather with pine bark tannin versus a tanned leather with mimosa extract. An eco-friendly and cleaner production method for obtaining pine bark powder was developed. This new production method allows to obtain a reduction in 83% in the 'climate change' impact category. However, when this tannin is applied to obtain a tanned leather, the tanning process shows an increase in all studied impact categories compared with the use of the atomized mimosa extract.