Economic Benefits

Based on 50 t of copper recovered per year, the cost saving in 2007 USD is as follows14:

Copper (USD/yr) Materials (USD/yr) Disposal (USD/yr) Total (USD/yr) Capital investment (USD)

Payback

65,000 104,000 32,500 500

286,000 17 months

1.9.8 Chrome Recovery and Recycling in the Leather Industry

The Greek and Dutch governments have a framework of bilateral collaboration in the field of environmental protection. One result of this has been that clean technology has been applied in a full-scale cooperative R&D project between the two countries at the Germanakos tannery. The project was carried out with the support of the Commission of the European Communities.

The Germanakos SA tannery near Athens in Greece was founded in 1978. Today it produces good quality upper leather from cattle hides, processing 2200 t/yr and with an annual turnover of 2007 USD 11 million and a staff14 of 65.

Tanning is a chemical process that converts putrescible hides and skins into a stable material. Vegetable, mineral, and other tanning agents may be used—either separately or in combination—to produce leather with different qualities and properties. Trivalent chromium (Cr3+) is the major tanning agent, because it produces modern, thin, light leather suitable for shoe uppers, clothing, and upholstery. However, recent limits for discharge to the environment have limited chromium discharge to levels as low as 2mg/L in wastewaters.

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