Saturday, November 16, 2013

Some Good News From the Philippines

Some Good News From the Philippines

With all of the tragic publicity of late surrounding the Philippines, perhaps a moment could be spent appreciating their efforts on the environmental front. Thanks to the Philippine Bureau of Agricultural Research a biodegradable alternative to leather tanning degreasing agents is under devolpment. It is completely organic and cheaper than the non-biodegradable agent called nonylphenol ethoxylate. The Bureau of Agricultural Research cites economic motivation for their efforts, “The government aims to make the local leather-goods industry competitive to the environment-friendly processing standards of markets like Europe.” The replacement agent is composed of pig's bile and paraffin from the pig's eyes which are both waste products from meat facilities. Typically the cost of the degreasing agent is 20-25 percent of the cost of a tannery.
The Philippines are currently buying nonylphenol ethoxylates from outside countries at 220 Philippine pesos (5.04 US dollars) per kilo. The proposed alternative is projected to hit the commercial market at a much lower cost of 50 Philippine pesos per kilo (1.15 US dollars). If the bile degreaser is successful only in the Philippines it would replace the use of inorganic compounds in an industry worth 141.57 million dollars. A significant chunk of production-- and certainly good news for the local environment. Hopefully great prospect for the global community as well if it proves to be as sound an economic endeavor as it seems.

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