Our Tannery

The Basically Bush Tannery

Basically Bush strives to operate in such a way as to have the least negative environmental impact possible. In 2012 Basically Bush received a Highly Commended Award from the Westpac Manawatu Business Awards

Dressing and Tanning Process

The process we use is the least damaging environmentally. Raw skins are bought by one of our four Possum Skin Procurement Agents.
Raw skins for dressing are processed to the crust stage immediately after grading to prevent any possible deterioration. As part of the dressing process we use salt and acids for pickling prior to dressing and fat liquors to enhance pliability of the leather. The basification process ensures that all chemicals are fixed into the leather prior to any discharge. Our systems ensure that the pH of any discharge is within compliance guidelines, and all discharge is screened to take out solids, which are removed to secure land fill.

Tanning Practices at Basically Bush

Alum is the key dressing material used by Basically Bush. It produces a fine white leather that is very pliable but is not waterproof and has some temperature sensitivity. Alum is not considered to be environmentally damaging when diluted and is chemically stable. It is not classed as a hazardous substance under EU guidelines 1999/45/EEC, and is not classified as a “Dangerous Goods”.

The term Alum is used to describe Potassium Aluminium Sulphate, commonly known as Potash Alum. It is soluble in water, the resulting solution is acidic and slightly sweet to taste and it is known to have astringent and antibacterial qualities. It is also used in water purification, as it causes small particles to clump together and settle out; a traditional underarm deodorant due to its antibacterial qualities; and in food processing and pickling.

Chrome Tanning

When customers want to have pelts dyed, or pelts are needed for use in a high temperature environment (e.g. hot water bottle covers) alum dressing is not suitable. In these situations Chrome III (trivalent) chrome compounds are used. These compounds when used correctly are permanently fixed into the leather. We ensure that regulatory requirements with regard to discharge of waste are met.

Chrome III compounds are not considered to be carcinogenic in humans, the compound itself and products resulting from degradation are not considered toxic. Small quantities of chrome III compounds are to be found in some vitamin supplements, and are considered necessary for the metabolism of sugars and lipids.

Basically Bush is committed to maintaining a high awareness of its responsibilities with regard to fate in the environment of waste discharge. We also endeavour to ensure that our products are of high standard, meet our customers’ requirements and adhere to international standards.