Shift to biocircular

Developed together with some of the world’s best tanneries, Ecotan is the first truly bio-circular leather with a proven path back to nature.

Shift to biocircular

Developed together with some of the world’s best tanneries, Ecotan is the first truly bio-circular leather with a proven path back to nature.

Time for something new.

We live in an age of great abundance and limitation. Thanks to the efforts of companies like SpaceX, Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin it will soon be possible to circle the globe at 17,500 miles (28,000 kilometers) an hour, 250 miles (400 kilometers) up.  We’re also waking up to the cost such abundance exacts on planet earth- rising greenhouse gas levels, depletion of natural resources, pollution, trash and species extinction.  This knowledge compels us to be sparing with natural resources and use them thoughtfully.

Time for something new.

We live in an age of great abundance and limitation. Thanks to the efforts of companies like SpaceX, Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin it will soon be possible to circle the globe at 17,500 miles (28,000 kilometers) an hour, 250 miles (400 kilometers) up.  We’re also waking up to the cost such abundance exacts on planet earth- rising greenhouse gas levels, depletion of natural resources, pollution, trash and species extinction.  This knowledge compels us to be sparing with natural resources and use them thoughtfully.

Nature is our partner, not the enemy.

It’s time for something different that’s better for us and the planet.

Today consumers rank sustainability as key factor when buying most products by giving preference to items that are harmless, durable and reusable.

Silvateam has devised Ecotan.

A groundbreaking solution for brands looking to meet this new challenge. Developed in cooperation with world class tanneries, this technology lets leather join the cradle-to-cradle process:

1. Birth

Ecotan formulations start with nature using plant-based tannins that are grown, harvested, then processed sustainably. Silvateam has applied human ingenuity to combine renewable natural tannin sources with harmless man-made additives to create something entirely new.

2. Life

Ecotan’s nature-based approach results in leathers that match the performance bar set by chrome and glutaraldehyde tanning while avoiding dangerous ingredients.  The result is a tanning system that is safe, green and clean.  Nature, improved.

3. Next life

Ecotan tanning formulations are bio-circular. They and the leather they’ve been combined with are designed for a next life as a superior organic fertilizer and so are returned to nature, enriching it instead of creating problems for us and the planet.  

Ecotan Project Overview

The animals we raise for our use can be understood as a concentrated and valuable investment of resources- water, food, arable land, energy and time. 

An investment not to be wasted.  In the case of cattle, we use much of the animal immediately as food, but preserve their skins for extended use.

Animal skins left untreated soon decompose but long ago humans discovered that plant tannins repel bacterial attack and don’t discriminate between defending plant tissue or animal proteins.  Humans repurposed plant tannins to protect animal proteins against microbial attack and preserve them for extended use.  The result was a useful material like no other- leather.  In a way, we paused leather’s path around nature’s circle and sent it on a detour for our use.

1. Birth

Ecotan formulations start with nature using plant-based tannins that are grown, harvested and then processed sustainably.

Silvateam technologists have worked over 5 years to match the performance bar set by chrome and glutaraldehyde tanning without using harmful substances.  They have combined renewable natural tannin sources with harmless man-made additives to create something entirely new: performance-based leathers that avoid dangerous ingredients.

Ecotan leather articles don’t contain toxic substances that can poison land, water or air. They are free of metals, aldehydes, triazine or any other substances listed in the ZDHC Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (MRSL). This manufacturing standard ensures the safety of both tanners and consumers.

The result is a tanning system safe for us and the earth. Nature improved.

2. Life

The Ecotan tanning system was created to be safe for us and the planet by using only ingredients that are deemed harmless and bio-circular. An industry first, this means that at no dangerous substances are used in the process of transforming animals hides into finished leather. Silvateam’s tanning system is paired with other inputs, like oils, colors, finishing waxes and pigments to create finished leather made to a new standard.

Like all quality leathers, Ecotan leathers used for uppers, linings and insoles perform better than synthetics. They are more durable and more comfortable than man-made materials. Footwear made with Ecotan leather will last years, not months, and will look better with use.

Dry

Ecotan leather not only breathes but actively absorbs, then moves perspiration moisture away from the foot and out of the shoe. The technical term for this is Evapo-Transpirative. 

Fresh

Tannins eliminates odor throughout the life of the shoe.  Ecotan leathers create a healthy environment to avoid the proliferation of bacteria, responsible for the formation of bad odor. Unperspering synthetic materials can lead to an exponential increase in the bacteria population which is responsible for foot odor, exacerbating the problem. On the contrary, shoe with Ecotan leather interiors are perfect for the well-being of the foot.

Foot Health

Natural tannins mask the formation of odor in shoes, promoting a fresh and comfortable environment which ensures a healthy microbiome of the foot.

Unique Competitive Edge

Footwear users accept as a given that after even a few hours of use their feet will end up sweaty or clammy and odor will eventually follow. By using Ecotan leathers and their health benefits, brands can improve the user experience, adding another layer of value creation to their products.

3. Next Life

Ecotan tanning formulations are bio-circular.

They and the leather they’ve been combined with are designed for a next life as a superior organic fertilizer. In this way, leather is returned to nature, enriching it instead of creating problems for humans and the planet.

In a circular economy the value of products and materials is maintained for as long as possible.  What has previously been considered waste is now a resource that can be reused and reintroduced into the production cycle.  Bio-circular thinking takes this a step further by employing materials that start and end with nature without causing problems in the future. At end of a long useful life as leather items, we ‘un-pause’ their circular journey via a process called hydrolysis so they can rejoin nature’s cycle as useful nutrients for growing plants.  Much better than burning them- a wasteful use of resource investment akin to burning the rainforest.

So via natural tannins and simple innovative chemistry we pause a valuable concentration of resources (skins), make them available for extended human use, then ‘un-pause’ and redirect them back to nature in a carefully considered way.

Ecotan leather is part of an infinite loop seamlessly merged with nature’s cycle.

Ecotan is backed by science and research.

This new frontier in sustainable leather solutions comes as a result of adecade of continuous innovation conducted at Silvateam Research & Development centers and strong partnerships with prestigious universities, research institutes, tanneries and recycling companies. For those interested in learning more Silvateam offers scientific studies, third-party reports and certifications that verify and support our work. These are available upon request.

Our partner tanneries.

We offer a wide array of commercially available products from a group of selected tannery partners.
Over 20 of the top tanneries in the world- chosen for size and quality- have joined the Ecotan project and are ready to supply the first bio-circular leather. They span from Brazil to Taiwan, from Dominican Republic to Thailand, from Italy to Turkey, from France to Mexico.
Together they can supply finished leather on almost every raw material commonly used, including all types of bovine, lambskin, goat, and fish.

Discover all the leather articles developed by partner tanneries

·     Floater
·     Floater spongy
·     Burnishable
·     Burnishable with soft temper
·     Classic Nappa with high shine water resistant
·     Corrected Grain
·     Nubuck
·     Pull-up
·     Waxed Pull-up
·     Crazy Horse type
·     Crazy Horse type with soft temper
·     Split Suede
·     Reverse grain suede
·     Lining-lamb, calf, cow
·     Exotics: fish skin leather
·     Insole material in a range of weights
·     Shearling- sheep
·     Sheep and lamb skins for leather goods and garments
·     Automotive full grain
·     Upholstery

Responsibly sourced hides paired with bio-circular tannins are part of a better future.

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