LIFE GOAST - Green Organic Agents for Sustainable Tanneries (GOAST)

LIFE16 ENV/IT/000416

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Contact details:

Tel: 390444670949
Email: progettolife@gscspa.it

Project description:


Leather manufacturing is classified as water-, energy- and waste-intensive by the Industrial Emissions Directive (2010/75/EU). Tannery effluents, if not properly treated, cause significant damage to soil and water bodies. Over 85% of world leather production involves the traditional chrome tanning process (TCTP). The use of chrome (Cr) in the industrial processing of animal hides poses serious environmental and health problems due to the use of hazardous chemicals, the production of solid/liquid waste and air emissions, and the formation of hexavalent chromium in finished articles.

In Italy alone, the tanning industry uses 47 million tonnes of chemical products per year (2011 figures). Nearly 31% of products contain substances classified as hazardous, according to the CLP Regulation ((EC) No 1272/2008)). Around 125 million m2/year of leather in Italy are TCTP tanned, consuming approximately 145 million m3/year of water. Moreover, at present, effluents are sent to wastewater treatment plants where chrome separation is carried out, at €28/tonne for chrome treatment and €12/tonne for chrome-containing organic leather scraps treatment.


The main aim of the LIFE GOAST project is to demonstrate the benefits of a new tanning technology on a semi-industrial scale. The technical feasibility of the technology, as well as its social and economic impact, will be monitored and compared with the TCTP in order to demonstrate the reduced environmental impacts of the new process, while producing comparable or better quality leather.

In particular, the project will:

  • Produce chrome-free high quality leather articles;
  • Improve the quality of tannery effluents by eliminating chromium salts, mineral acids/bases and sodium chloride in tanning and re-tanning steps;
  • Demonstrate, in a pilot plant on a semi-industrial scale, lower environmental impacts in terms of reduced hazardous substances, primary resource consumption (water), and environmental releases into water and soil; and
  • Eliminate/reduce chrome-containing sludge.
  • Through the complete replacement of chromium salts with less hazardous substances, the project will contribute to the implementation of the Industrial Emissions Directive (2010/75/EU) and the CLP Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008. It will also reduce water consumption and pollution in line with the Water Framework Directive (Directive 2000/60/EC) .

    Expected results:

  • A new chrome-free leather that is non-toxic and has reduced environmental impacts, as it does not contain heavy metals, formaldehyde, phenol or other hazardous chemicals;
  • Tanning of 20 tonnes of chrome-free leather;
  • Elimination of chromium salts from the tanning process (an estimated 1.8 tonnes);
  • Elimination of an estimated 400 kg of mineral acids;
  • Elimination of an estimated 400 kg of mineral bases;
  • Elimination of an estimated 1.9 tonnes of sodium chloride;
  • Elimination of an estimated 5 tonnes of chrome-containing leather scraps;
  • A 20% reduction in water consumption (an estimated 60 tonnes); and
  • Recycling/reuse of 10% of exhausted tanning agents, with an estimated reduction in use of fresh tanning agent of about 180-200 kg.



Environmental issues addressed:


Environmental management - Circular economy and Value chains
Industry-Production - Leather and Footwear


clean technology‚  raw material consumption‚  leather industry‚  water quality‚  hazardous substance

Target EU Legislation

  • Water
  • Directive 2000/60 - Framework for Community action in the field of water policy (23.10.2000)
  • COM(2012)673 -"A Blueprint to Safeguard Europe's Water Resources"
  • Industry and Product Policy
  • Directive 2010/75 - Industrial emissions (integrated pollution prevention and control) (24.11.201 ...

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator GSC GROUP SPA
Type of organisation Large enterprise
Description The GSC Group is an Italian company founded in 1976 and based in the tannery district of Arzignano in the province of Vicenza. It produces chemical products for tanning hides and treatments for leather goods, covering the entire process from the wet phase to finishing. In addition to its manufacturing sites, GSC has laboratories for checking raw materials, developing new products, performing leather and skin tests, and developing more sustainable alternatives to traditional tanning systems.


Project reference LIFE16 ENV/IT/000416
Duration 01-JUL-2017 to 30-JUN -2020
Total budget 2,367,327.00 €
EU contribution 1,374,196.00 €
Project location Veneto(Italia)


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