Vegetable tanning is an age-old technique that has proven to be a more sustainable way to tan leather. But how is it achieved, and what does it really have to do with vegetables? In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the vegetable tanning process and help you understand its numerous benefits.
First, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page with the tanning process, generally speaking. An important part of the leather-making process is tanning the hide. This step is what permanently alters the material, turning it into the leather we all know and love. There are multiple processes used to tan leather. Chrome tanning is most popular, but vegetable tanning is becoming increasingly sought after for its ethical and sustainable qualities.
The Vegetable Tanning Process
While chrome tanning relies on chemicals, the vegetable tanning process utilizes naturally occurring tannins from plant bark and leaves. Once the skins are prepped and ready to be tanned, they’ll be submerged in huge containers of the vegetable tannin solution. There they’ll stay for several weeks until they’re ready to go. The tanned leather will be given time to dry out completely, and then it’ll be finished accordingly, depended on the desired result.
Why We Love Vegetable Tanned Leather
While chrome tanned leathers are beautiful too, we love vegetable tanned leather for its environmental and health benefits. It yields a desirable result, with minimal impact on the environment. While chrome tanning is incredibly efficient, it’s known to be a much less sustainable option, due to the high concentration of toxic chemicals involved. Because vegetable tanning uses natural tannins, there’s little to no environmental concerns involved with this process. Without chemicals, vegetable-tanned leather is better for the earth, it’s better for the workers producing it, and it’s better for you! Plus, it looks and feels great.
We’re happy to stock a variety of beautiful vegetable tanned leathers at Buckleguy, so head on over and start browsing. Got questions about the tanning process, or any of the items you see on our site? We’re always here to help, so feel free to reach out!