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The aim of this research is to carry out a technical-economic analysis in order to assess whether the significant quantities of waste from the vegetal tanning of leather for soles, the so-called "trimmings" (which are mainly composed of collagen and vegetal tannins) can be treated, processed and then reused as new biodegradable filling materials for packing as an alternative to polystyrene or polyurethane chipsters. To achieve this, the waste (in the form of long leather shavings) should first be reduced into powder and fibres and then into biodegradable sphere-shaped aggregates of varying sizes according to the specific requirements (from a few mm to a maximum of a few cm) in the subsequent controlled reagglomeration phase. The biodegradability of the new material depends on two main factors: the waste is taken from the productive cycle before ing treatment has been carried out to improve the material's water resistance and before any mechanical treatment to increase the compactness of the fibre; the reduction of the waste to powder and minute fibres, even if theyded together by means of chemical hydrogen bonding agents of the actual collagen fibres, facilitates the attachment by chemical, physical and biological agents. The technological problems to be dealt with include: the study of a more suitable system to efficiently reduce the waste into powder and microfibres; the identification of the most suitable methods to make the sphere-shaped aggregates as light as possible while maintaining their mechanical strength, surface abrasion resistance and indispensable biodegradability.

Funding Scheme

EAW - Exploratory awards


Volpi Giuseppe SpA
Via Della Tecnica 44
56024 Ponte A Egola San Miniato Pisa