Five years in the making, DriTan™ drastically reduces the amount of water required to tan leathers, allowing tanneries to operate in a more sustainable fashion. While saving approximately 20 litres of water per hide in the tannery in the Netherlands, the DriTan™ technology also produces leather which is indistinguishable from traditionally tanned leather in terms of quality, characteristics, stability and lead-time.
To showcase this radical technology, ECCO has created a version of the iconic ECCO SOFT 8 sneaker in leather produced using DriTan™, which will be included in the Autumn/Winter 2019 collection.
ECCO Leather tans 1.25 million hides per year to supply leather goods and shoes to over 2,200 ECCO shops and more than 14,000 sales points worldwide. External customers, including some of the world's iconic luxury brands, also source materials from ECCO Leather. By introducing DriTan™ at its tannery in the Netherlands, ECCO will save more than 25 million litres of water annually, which is enough to hydrate around 9,000 people, according to the World Health Organization's figures .
A giant step towards water-free leather manufacturing
DriTan™ will enhance ECCO Leather's reputation for being one of the world's most advanced research and development facilities for the material. For 10,000 years, humans have been tanning leathers, and it has always been thought that it was impossible to process the hides without using large amounts of water. However, ECCO Leather is now working towards reinventing one of the world's oldest industries by developing and refining a way of using the moisture already present in the hides.
Reducing waste water and chemicals
As a result of reduced water consumption, the discharge of waste water will be equally reduced, and DriTan™ will also minimise the use of chemicals. At its tannery in the Netherlands alone, ECCO Leather will cut its waste by 600 tons of sludge a year, which means 40 fewer truckloads of sludge to be deposited in landfills.