Tannin: Environment Friendly and Sustainable
Are you wondering if tannin is environmentally sustainable? The answer is undoubtedly positive. We can consider tannin as the bioprotector of trees and forests: its protection goes far beyond the protection of branches and leaves from the attack of bacteria.
Its action extends to protect the balances of an entire territory and of all the creatures that inhabit it. Humans included.
The territories most interested in the extraction of tannin are:
- The Chestnut woods in Europe, in particular in France and Italy, between Piedmont, Liguria and Tuscany;
- The Quebracho woods located in the Chaco and Formosa area, in the North of Argentina.
Responsible Forest Management
The trees destined to the extraction of tannin come from a responsible management of the forests, regulated according to strict regulations directly by the national authorities.
Tannin producers have every interest in respecting them since an indiscriminate forest exploitation would undermine their long-term production capacity. Preserving forests means investing in the future of the company.
A vision that has generated a successful cooperation between the public and private sectors, allowing to save thousands of hectares of woods from the danger of deforestation in favor of intensive agriculture.
Respecting Forests also Means…
The forests used as sources of raw material for the extraction of tannin are not plantations made by man, but perfect creations of nature, which therefore host various plants and animal species. Safeguarding them means protecting this valuable biodiversity heritage.
Preventing Hydrogeological Instability
Maintaining forests means preventing the hydrogeological instability of the territory. The presence of the trees protects the soil from direct exposure to atmospheric agents, their roots retain it and keep it compact, helping to prevent landslides and rockfalls.
Tannin, an Environmentally Sustainable Product
It has a 100% plant origin, so it is not a contaminant. For example, residues of leather tanning can be used, after hydrolyzation treatment, as high nitrogen organic fertilizers.
It has remained almost unchanged over the centuries. It is sufficient to soak the pieces of wood in hot water, without adding any chemical additive, but with the right combination of infusion timing, water temperature, preparation of the raw material.
The water and steam used during the extraction process are purified and continuously recycled. In this way we optimize the use of the precious “blue gold”. In many cases, rainwater recycling systems are installed.
The thermal energy outcoming from the extraction process is not dispersed but is kept and reused in successive production cycles, optimizing the resources and reducing the impact on the environment.
The exhausted wood is partly dried and turned into pellets for a natural stove, without any addition of additives or accelerators for combustion. The wood deprived of tannin burns better and can be used to heat civil and industrial plants.
Alternatively, the wood chips resulting from the extraction process are sent to the biomass power plants for the production of clean energy. This further lowers the need for primary energy resources moving towards an ideal “Zero impact” production.
Vegetable tanned leather allows you to make shoes, bags and other items that can last for decades, sometimes even generations. Buying durable goods that contain tannin means less waste and stand against the subculture of the so-called “Throw-away society”.
Supplementing the diet of farm animals with tannin compensates for certain nutritional deficiencies, improves their metabolism and strengthens their immune system, decreasing excessive recourse to invasive drugs, such as antibiotics.
Economic Development of Rural Areas
The harvesting of vegetable raw materials allows to create jobs and economic development in rural areas, which would otherwise be easily abandoned.
The tannin production plants are in fact close to the forests, they hire local labor and improve satellite activities, such as loggers and collectors.
The cutting of the trees is in fact always entrusted to the local woodsmen, who act in conformity with the regulations in force. The producers of tannin participate in the life of local communities, supporting social initiatives linked in particular to the promotion of health and schooling.
It is possible to talk about a real “tannin microeconomy” that prevents the depopulation of rural areas and that allows local people to continue to live according to their own customs and tradition.
Argentina, Italy and Peru: 3 real cases in which tannin thrives virtuously in the local economy and in the preservation of the territory, preventing the abandonment of the mountainous and rural areas.
The proof that a human scale and environmentally friendly economic development is possible. Encouraging the consumption of tannin also means promoting sustainable development.