Quantification Of Solid Leather Waste And Waste Mitigation Methods Used In The Zimbabwean Leather Industry: A Case Study
Keywords:Leather industry, solid leather waste, waste mitigation
The production processes involved in the manufacture of leather have an adverse negative effect on the environment which can be attributed to the high levels of solid, liquid and gaseous emissions generated during these processes. Literature says that, about 75% out of a tonne of raw hides is not utilised but remains as waste. Of the generated waste approximately 50% is considered hazardous as the waste is mainly from tanning and post tanning operations and thus may contain chromium. It is in this regard that a study was carried out to quantify the levels of solid waste being generated as well as the waste mitigation efforts being used, if any, in the Zimbabwean leather industry. This study analysed the actual processes performed in some of the still functioning tanneries in Zimbabwe in order to propose tannery solid waste management practices. The main aim of this study therefore, was to gather accurate and useful data of the nature and amount of solid waste generated during leather making operation from raw hides and skins input to finished leather. To achieve these goals, 3 tanneries were visited across Zimbabwe. This enabled to have a first-hand experience and also facilitated an in-depth study of the chosen facilities. A diagnostic industrial survey was conducted using both quantitative and qualitative methods. From these findings, it was clear that there exists a gap in waste mitigation in Zimbabwean tanneries and therefore there is a need to educate tanners on the advantages of introduction of such schemes for the benefit of the environment. Also huge costs are incurred in the disposal of the solid waste therefore introduction of recovery and recycling projects may be of greater advantage to the tanners.