Rhubarbleather, a natural alternative

Leather is a very durable natural product with first of all a very gentle touch while then having also a long lifetime with little maintenance. Therefore we chose it as the perfect material to use for the grips of an AngelCab, a part which must remain in it’s best shape despite numerous touchings in various circumstances.

All leather has been tanned. Tanning describes the process that makes animal skin into leather. The quality of this process determines the quality and the lifespan of the leather, so there are multiple ways of tanning which create the difference between the leather for a high street purse or a handmade couture piece.

The process

While this process has it’s roots about 8000 years ago, nowadays (since halfway the 19th century) we use mineral tanning agents to speed up the process for industrial processing. The basic principles of the process remained mainly the same, only uses the industry  chemicals such as chrome to speed up the whole tanning process to just one day instead of months.

This mixture of chemical ingredients is not only linked to irritated skin reactions, health risks and so on. The production of this luxury good also mostly happens in Third World countries with terrible working conditions for workers who’s health suffers the most from direct contact with chemicals.

The environmental impact of the process can not be neglected either. To tan the leather the use of water is necessary, the wastewater from the process includes around 250mg/L chromium and has a sulphide concentration of 500mg/L. Of course the environmental protection standards in regions as China, India and Bangladesh aren’t as strict and permit the water to infiltrate in to the direct environment.

What do we do?

This is clearly not something we want to use in a product that will be touched all the time, destroys our environment and everything around it. So we looked for an alternative, which we found in rhubarb leather. Using the roots of the rhubarb plant as a natural alternative for the chemicals in the tanning process Deepmello offers us a biodegradable leather that meets all technical and health-related standards without any risk. The production also happens to be in Germany under the supervision of certified institutions to guarantee a production process free of harmful chemicals to benefit our health as well as the environment.