Towards the end of 2020, the Leather and Hide Council of America (LHCA) began looking into an aspect of leather’s sustainability story that has commanded surprisingly little attention until now. It began asking what the environmental impact is, in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, of cattle hides that go to waste and decompose.
According to the European Commission, waste is the fourth- biggest source of emissions. The situation, in the European Union (EU) at least, has improved immensely in the last three decades and, with a share of 3%, emissions from waste lag far behind those arising from fuel combustion (77%), agriculture (10%) and industrial processes (8%) . In 2018, total greenhouse gas emissions in the EU equaled 3.9 billion tonnes of CO2- equivalent. A 3% share of that total is 117 million tonnes of CO2-equivalent. Emissions from waste have fallen by 33% over the 28 years for which the EU has greenhouse gas inventories  but the trading bloc wants member states, municipalities, companies and citizens to lower the figure further. Disposing of material into landfill has an environmental impact and decreasing that impact would be a good thing.
Food for thought…….
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